Prosensa, the Dutch RNA specialist which has a number of deals in place with GlaxoSmithKline, has raised 23 million euros in new equity financing.

The funding was led by new investor New Enterprise Associates (NEA)  and was supported by existing backers, namely Abingworth, Life Sciences Partners, Gimv, Idinvest Partners and MedSciences Capital. The cash will be used to advance its portfolio of RNA-modulating therapeutics for the treatment of rare diseases, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), myotonic dystrophy and Huntington’s disease.

Prosensa's lead candidate for DMD is in Phase III in partnership with GSK and another drug covered by the collaboration with the drugs giant is also in the clinic for the debilitating neuromuscular disease; four additional compounds for DMD are in preclinical development.

Hans Schikan, Prosensa's chief executive, said the financing "will help us to further strengthen our position in rare diseases and will allow us to deliver on our promise of accelerated development of treatments".

David Mott, general partner of NEA who will join Prosensa's board, noted that while the venture firm is one of the biggest in the world, with more than $11 billion in capital under management, the financing "is our first biopharma investment in Europe". He added that it "signals our openness to selectively consider investing in truly exceptional innovation in Europe as well as in our traditional geographies in the USA, China and India".