MedaRed is targeting a blood-clotting factor called fibrin linked to neuron-toxic inflammation in diseases including Alzheimer’s, based on the work of Katerina Akassoglou at UCSF’s School of Medicine.

MedaRed, a US-based biotechnology developer partly based on University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) research focused on neurological disease, closed a $6.5m seed round yesterday co-led by specialist VC vehicle Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) and Dolby Family Ventures.

Founded in 2016, MedaRed hopes to commercialise small molecule drugs which target diseases with unmet clinical needs. It will initially focus on the neurological diseases Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

The company’s central thesis, that certain molecules reduce neuron-toxic inflammations caused by a blood-clotting factor known as fibrin, was pioneered by Katerina Akassoglou, professor of neurology at the UCSF School of Medicine.

Akassoglou is also a senior investigator the nonprofit biomedical research organization Gladstone Institutes.

MedaRed will use a share of the seed money to progress its molecule candidates, with a view to creating fibrin-focused therapies for Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

Mike Ross, managing partner of SV Health Investors, which manages DDF, will join MedaRed’s board of directors alongside Laurence Barker, chief business officer for DDF, and Pascal Levensohn, managing director of Dolby Family Ventures.

The company has appointed Jeffrey Stavenhagen, previously vice-president of biology at rare disease biotherapy developer Therachon, as its chief scientific officer.

Stavenhagen said: “Fibrin is a common thread in various diseases with blood leaks and chronic inflammation in the brain and the periphery. With support from DDF and Dolby Family Ventures, there is an opportunity for MedaRed to develop a new class of therapeutics for numerous diseases with vascular damage including Alzheimer’s disease.”