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Venture Capital News: Akili Adds $11.9M Expansion to Recent Series B

BOSTON, MA, digital medicine company developing novel, non-pharmacological therapeutics and diagnostics for cognitive disorders, today announced an $11.9 million expansion of its recent Series B financing.
Akili Interactive Labs, Inc. (Akili), a digital medicine company developing novel, non-pharmacological therapeutics and diagnostics for cognitive disorders, today announced an $11.9 million expansion of its recent Series B financing. Merck Ventures BV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (known as M Ventures in the United States and Canada), and Amgen Ventures, the venture arm of Amgen, joined existing investors to bring the total Series B proceeds to $42.4 million. Akili will use the funds to support and expand clinical development of its clinical-stage products into new areas, with an expanded focus on neurodegeneration, and to build out its commercial infrastructure as Akili nears the market with its late-stage products. With the M Ventures and Amgen Ventures investments, Akili now has four relationships with major biopharma companies or their investment affiliates, including its existing partnership with Pfizer, Inc. and an investment from Shire Pharmaceuticals.

'We're excited to see M Ventures and Amgen Ventures commit to the development of digital medicine, and we're proud to be M Ventures' first investment in the space,' said Eddie Martucci, Ph.D., Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Akili. 'There exists a tremendous opportunity to deliver medicine that is efficacious and addresses the needs for safe, non-pharmacological treatments in many neurological and mental health patient populations. M Ventures' and Amgen Ventures' support, combined with that of our existing investors, will help us continue to advance our projects toward commercialization.'

'The investment in Akili represents the first investment from our recently announced New Businesses fund,' said Roel Bulthuis, Managing Director of M Ventures. 'We believe digital medicine is the next frontier in healthcare, and we're committed to helping bring digital into mainstream biopharma for a variety of patient and clinical needs. We see the medical segment within digital health growing rapidly, so we're engaging with pioneering strategic partners like Akili to help advance this new category of medicine.'

Akili is currently conducting a pivotal trial of its lead product candidate, Project: EVO™, in pediatric Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) through the STARS-ADHD study and plans to seek approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration for this potential first-in-class treatment if the results of the pivotal study are favorable. The company has multiple clinical studies in cognitive disorders and has recently expanded into disorders across neurodegeneration where cognition is significantly impacted, including Parkinson's disease, major depressive disorder, and multiple sclerosis, both for the potential to better track the disease course and for the potential of early non-pharmacological treatment.

About Amgen Ventures
Amgen Ventures is the strategic venture capital arm of Amgen and provides emerging innovative companies with financial and other resources to develop pioneering discoveries to treat grievous human illnesses.

About M Ventures
Merck Ventures BV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, known as M Ventures in the United States and Canada, is the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

About Project: EVOTM Platform
Akili's lead product platform, Project: EVOTM, is based on technology exclusively licensed from the lab of Dr. Adam Gazzaley at the University of California, San Francisco. The mechanics of the platform are designed to directly target an individual's core neurological ability to process multiple streams of information, which represents a novel neurological target for Akili's intervention and monitoring products. The intervention product has the potential to improve attention, working memory and other executive functions in patients through direct interaction with the device, and the monitoring product may enable screening across neurological and psychiatric disorders. The device can adapt difficulty automatically in real-time, allowing individuals of wide-ranging ability levels to interact with the product remotely without the need for physician calibration. Akili is currently conducting multiple clinical trials of its platform across a variety of patient populations, including pediatric ADHD, autism spectrum disorder (in collaboration with Autism Speaks), depression, Alzheimer's disease and traumatic brain injury.

About Akili Interactive Labs
Akili is building clinically validated cognitive treatments and assessments that are delivered in an action video game interface. Leveraging medical-grade science and consumer-grade software technology, the company is seeking to produce a new type of medical product that can offer safe and effective scalable treatment and better patient monitoring for patients across a range of mental health and neurological conditions. The company was founded by PureTech Health (PRTC.L), together with leading neuroscientists and game designers. Akili has garnered investment from Shire PLC and has strategic partnerships with Pfizer, Inc. and Autism Speaks.
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