Benson Capital Partners Announces First Investment in AxoSim, Inc.
AxoSim, Inc, Provider of BrainSim™ & NerveSim™ Neurological Drug Discovery Platforms, and BioFund Portfolio Company, Teams with Benson Capital Partners & Jefferson Capital Partners
Benson Capital Partners announces its first investment from its recently launched fund, Benson Capital Fund I, in AxoSim, Inc., a New Orleans-based neurological drug discovery platform company. AxoSim’s proprietary technologies, NerveSim™ & BrainSim™, empower scientists from leading biopharmaceutical companies to predict how the human nervous system will respond to therapies much earlier in the drug development process. Benson Capital Partners co-invested with Jefferson Capital Partners’ Opportunity Zone fund vehicle. AxoSim’s office and lab spaces are currently housed in the New Orleans BioInnovation Center on Canal St.
The development of new drugs for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s & MS is painstakingly slow and inefficient. Over 94% of neurological drugs that look promising in animal testing fail once they are tested in humans, driving the average cost and time to develop a single new drug to $2.6B and more than 10 years. AxoSim’s revolutionary NerveSim™ & BrainSim™ platforms provide a more clinically relevant way to test drugs by mimicking the structure and function of the human nervous system, accelerating the development of safer and more effective treatments.
“AxoSim’s technologies and team have the ability to accelerate new treatments for debilitating neurological diseases to the clinic. We are excited that Benson Capital Partners’ first investment is in a company with both local and global impact, addressing a large and important market,” says Mike Katz, Managing Director of Benson Capital Partners. “We were impressed by the management team and the impressive roster of global pharmaceutical companies they have already attracted as their clients. Through partnerships like this, Gayle Benson will continue to honor her late husband Tom Benson by fostering entrepreneurship & innovation in New Orleans and the Gulf South Region.”
“We are thrilled to partner with the AxoSim team in advancing critically important neurological drug development,” says Jo Truhe, a Partner with Jefferson Capital Partners. “We appreciate the opportunity to co-invest with Benson Capital Partners. We are completely aligned on the mission of providing much-needed capital to the region, particularly New Orleans.”
AxoSim is lead by CEO Lowry Curley, Ph.D., and Chief Business Officer Ben Cappiello. The company was spun out of the lab of Michael Moore, Ph.D. from Dr. Curley’s graduate research at Tulane University. In 2019, AxoSim significantly expanded its technology portfolio with the exclusive license of the BrainSim platform, pioneered by Thomas Hartung, MD, Ph.D. out of Johns Hopkins University. With the combination of these two platforms, AxoSim has become a premier player in the neurological drug discovery field. Over the past four years, the company has grown to a team of 26 employees and is scaling up its production and service capabilities.
“Translating promising results in the lab to success in humans is the biggest obstacle the pharmaceutical industry faces, and nowhere is that more apparent than neurodegenerative diseases. Our NerveSim™ & BrainSim™ have the potential to bridge that gap and drive the next wave of therapies for patients in desperate need. Working with Benson Capital and Jefferson Capital and their extensive networks will help accelerate our mission to empower advancements in human neuroscience,” says Dr. Lowry Curley. “This investment, along with our growing revenue and new federal grants, provides the capital we need to scale our platforms into industry-leading drug discovery solutions.”
AxoSim works with a growing number of the largest biopharmaceutical companies globally and their platform has a wide range of applications in both safety and efficacy, including neurological disease modeling. Additionally, they have been awarded over $4.2M in federal grant funding to advance and validate their technologies, including their recent announcement of two new grants worth over $870K to develop a patient-derived model of ALS and further expand their BrainSim™ platform.
AxoSim is also a New Orleans BioFund Portfolio company, having won our annual BioChallenge Pitch Competition in 2014, and received their first investment from the Fund in 2016. To date, BioFund Portfolio Companies have created or retained over 400 Full-Time-Equivalent Positions. The BioFund has now directly contributed $4 million to the local economy and has supported the creation of numerous long-term, high-wage job opportunities within and outside of biotech.
Be sure to keep up with Benson Capital Partners HERE.
Be sure to keep up with AxoSim HERE.