This branch of our Sponsor Atlas series focuses on young pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that are in early stages or stealth mode. In the next edition of Sponsor Atlas: Discovering Biotech Startups, we’re looking at Praxis Precision Medicines, exploring the current affairs and future orientation of this emerging Cambridge - based stealth biotech company. To accomplish this, we will give a business overview of their current operations, summarize their outsourcing needs, map out their development goals and decision-makers, and highlight their current strategies for capturing innovation. If you haven’t already read our other blogs on new biotech startups, be sure to check them out here.
Praxis Precision Medicines, Inc., formerly known as EpiPM Therapeutics, Inc. is a stealth biotech startup focused on developing novel therapies to treat neurological, psychiatric, and movement disorders.
Praxis has a website domain registered, but when accessed, it just redirects to their Contact Us page. There also isn’t much online information about their company, so we had to do some old-fashioned research and gather clues from various sources for details about their research and potential products. Praxis’ principal place of business is located at One Broadway, 16th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02142, a large building also known as the Cambridge Innovation Center, which houses hundreds of other innovative startups, including bigger companies like HubSpot, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Instacart to name a few. Praxis Precision Medicines was registered in Delaware as a C-Corp with a filing date on 12/1/2016, and it was originally incorporated on 9/22/2015, with a registered agent address through CT Corporation System in Boston. Their business name was officially changed from EpiPm Therapeutics, Inc. on 10/26/2016. They also have a decent employee count with a number ranging anywhere from 21 - 30 on staff.
Praxis Precision Medicines raised a total of $21.9M in funding over the previous 2 rounds, with their latest Series C round of $10M on 6/27/2019 from 3 investors. President and CEO of Praxis, Dr. Kiran Reddy, played a key role in securing the recent investment and it will aid in aggressively expanding the company, as well as to broaden and accelerate product development. 
Praxis Precision Medicines doesn’t have a lot of information on their current outsourcing needs, but considering their recent rounds of venture financing, they are in a great position to fund a ton of outsourcing work. The company is still early in development but they do have a few lead candidates already in clinical trials, with more on that in the next section. Their prospective pipeline will consist of therapies for treating multiple types of neurodegenerative diseases. Any experience with these types of diseases and the technologies around it would be of tremendous benefit to Praxis at this point in time.
Some of the ways outsourcing partners can get their foot in the door would be to provide support in the following general areas: large molecule CMOs, gene therapy and genetic engineering CROs, preclinical CROs, bioanalytical service providers, and clinical support services.
Praxis Precision Medicines is a company inspired by breakthroughs in the genetics of epilepsy and overlapping biology with broader neuropsychiatric disorders. They are currently developing medicines in the innovative space of neurology genetics, specifically with CNS AAV gene therapy from targeting specific genetic epilepsies caused by mutations in sodium and potassium channels, and a precision medicine approach to treating other neurological disorders. Praxis recently established their Asia Pacific headquarters and research and development center in Melbourne, Australia, where they’re already conducting several clinical trials. They’re focusing on two lead candidates, namely PRAX-330 for treating epilepsy, and PRAX-944 for treating generalized epileptic syndromes with absence seizures, and essential tremor conditions. Recruitment is complete for the most recent studies and clinical trials are currently underway in Australia, with a few already having been completed.
PRAX-330 is currently progressing through a Phase I First-In-Human studies to assess its safety. In a recent abstract, PRAX-330 was shown to reduce persistent and resurgent sodium channel currents and neuronal hyperexcitability of subiculum neurons in a mouse model of SCN8A epileptic encephalopathy.  The second lead candidate, PRAX-944, is an oral tablet dosage form and is currently in a Phase II open-label study (Australia) for assessing safety and tolerability of ascending doses.
We think business development teams in the realms of large molecule CMOs, engineering support of medical devices for local and systemic drug delivery research, preclinical CROs, and bioanalytical service providers with experience in research of gene therapy targets for CNS diseases should definitely have Praxis Precision Medicines on their radar over the next few years.
With a substantial amount of investment backing, considerable progress in scientific benchwork, and deep technical knowledge from their executives, we believe that Praxis Precision Medicines will do very well in their early-stage developments and clinical trial studies. Praxis’ innovative gene therapy approach to using precision medicine in genetically defined neurodegenerative disorders will surely create some promising new treatments in the future. With their number of disease-targeting programs in development using these new technologies, Praxis is going to make some unprecedented discoveries in the epilepsy field and beyond.
While it’s still fairly difficult to determine what Praxis Precision Medicines will have to offer during stealth mode, their amount of venture funding is massive, and with the backgrounds of the executive team, we think they are on track to create some major breakthroughs in the biotech industry over the next few years. Be sure to keep Praxis on your contact list and look out for our next edition in this series coming soon.
If you would like a simple solution for keeping an eye on drug sponsor companies, like Praxis Precision Medicines, without relying on a database and generic lists of leads each week, Zymewire's here to help. Reach out today, and stay tuned for the next installment of the Sponsor Atlas: Discovering new Biotechs. If you enjoy these articles, please feel free to give them a share through the social links below!