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Cambridge biotech raises $135 million for experimental ALS drug

Amylyx co-founders Justin Klee and Joshua Cohen outside of their offices in Cambridge. A two-drug combination invented by Klee and Cohen when they were students at Brown University is one of many potential therapies being tested for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Amylyx co-founders Justin Klee and Joshua Cohen outside of their offices in Cambridge. A two-drug combination invented by Klee and Cohen when they were students at Brown University is one of many potential therapies being tested for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.CODY O'LUGHLIN/NYT

Amylyx Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge biotech founded by two Brown University undergraduates who came up with an idea for an ALS drug in a dorm, has raised $135 million in new venture capital.

The company plans to use the money to continue work on its experimental medicine for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The drug slowed the neurological decline of volunteers in a closely watched clinical trial, researchers said in September, offering a glimmer of hope for patients with the progressive paralyzing illness.

All told, Amylyx has raised about $250 million for the potential treatment, which combines sodium phenylbutyrate and taurursodiol. The company hopes to begin testing it in a late-stage clinical trial in the fall. The firm was created in 2013 by Josh Cohen and Justin Klee, who now serve as co-chief executives.

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The financing was led by Viking Global Investors with participation from Bain Capital Life Sciences, Perceptive Advisors, Rock Springs Capital, Woodline Partners, Marshall Wace, Tybourne Capital Management, Verition Fund Management, aMoon Fund and Falcon Edge. Previous investors, including Morningside Ventures, 683 Capital Management, Belinda Termeer, and Polaris Founders Capital, also participated in the deal.



Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at jonathan.saltzman@globe.com.