Eli Lilly is among the new investors in US-based Alto Neuroscience after the psychiatric drug maker closed a $45m series C financing round.

The round, which Alto Neuroscience said was oversubscribed, was led by US venture capital company InVivium Capital. New investors also included Franklin Templeton, Point72, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Eli Lilly.

Alto Neuroscience said the funds will go towards its clinical programme, namely its ongoing and planned late-stage trials for central nervous system (CNS) candidates, according to a 21 November press release.

Alto Neuroscience CEO Amit Etkin said: “This financing allows us to bring our clinical programmes through key value-generating milestones and significantly extends our operational runway.”

The company’s candidates ALTO-100, ALTO-202 and ALTO-300 are all developed for depression. ALTO-100 is also developed for post-traumatic stress disorder, based on the company’s website.

The company expects topline data from ALTO-100’s and ALTO-300’s Phase II studies in H2 2024 and H1 2025, respectively.  It has already announced positive safety and efficacy data for ALTO-100, including in a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patient cohort.

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Alto Neuroscience also stated it is planning to move two other pipeline drugs – ALTO-101 and ALTO-203 into Phase II proof-of-concept trials following positive pharmacodynamic effects observed in humans. Data readouts for these candidates are expected in late 2024 through to H1 2025.

The funding, which follows a $60m Series B financing round in January 2023, brings the total equity capital raised by the company to approximately $145m since it was founded in 2019.

Alto Neuroscience incorporates a data-driven approach to developing psychiatric therapies. The company uses its artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled platform which measures brain biomarkers to help drive drug development. Called the Precision Psychiatry Platform, Alto Neuroscience leverages its insights to match patients to the company’s most suitable product candidate.

InVivium Capital managing director Michael Liang said: “We look forward to supporting Alto in accelerating its mission of developing more personalised, effective treatments via their industry-leading precision psychiatry platform.”