Switzerland-based Stalica has raised $17.5m in Series B financing to fund clinical trials for its neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders pipeline.

The clinical programmes that the company plans to use the Series B proceeds include the fixed-dose combination drug STP1 and mavoglurant (STP7). Furthermore, the company will also strengthen the data package for STP2.

Stalica’s clinical pipeline

STP1 is a fixed dose combination of ibudilast, a phosphodiesterase (PDE) 4/3 inhibitor, and bumetanide, a sodium (Na)- potassium (K)- chloride (Cl) cotransporter (NKCC) 1 agonist. Stalica is developing the precision therapy as a treatment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a specific sub-group of patients, phenotype 1 (Phen1).

Phen1 patients have been identified by Stalica and validated using two independent clinical observational/bio-sampling studies (NCT05590715 and NCT04644003). The company is planning a Phase II trial for STP1 in patients with ASD, the preparation of which will be funded by the proceeds from the current financing round.

Mavoglurant is a negative allosteric modulator of the glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5). Stalica signed an in-licencing agreement with Novartis to develop the drug as a treatment for substance-use disorders and neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) in January 2023. As per the agreement, the company is entitled to receive up to $270m in upfront and milestone-based payments along with royalties on net sales.

The company is planning a Phase III trial for mavoglurant in patients with cocaine use disorder in 2025. The trial will be funded by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is expected to enrol up to 330 patients.

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STP2 is a stabilised synthetic form of sulforaphane. Stalica acquired the rights to the therapy from the UK-based Evgen Pharma in October 2022. Stalica is developing STP2 as a treatment for ASD in Phen2 sub-population. The company plans to start Phase II trial for the therapy in 2023.

ASD landscape

The total diagnosed prevalence of ASD was more than 9.81 million in 2023 and is expected to be approximately 9.65 million diagnosed prevalent cases of ASD in 2028, as per a 2023 Globaldata report. The ASD pipeline consists of 127 drugs spanning all stages of development, with only 7% of drugs present in Phase III and 11.8% in Phase II clinical development.

GlobalData is the parent company of Clinical Trials Arena.

In November 2023, SciSparc started a clinical trial for SCI-210 to treat ASD symptoms in children. SCI-210 is a combination of cannabidiol (CBD) and palmitoylethanolamide. The trial is expected to enrol 60 patients aged five and 18 years. 

Apart from ASD treatment, strides have been made in developing diagnostics for the disorder. In September 2023, EarliTech positive data from two studies showing the efficacy and accuracy of its EarliPoint Evaluation device in diagnosing and assessing autism in children aged 30 months and older.