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Jun 29, 2011

Acetylon Raises $27M to Push Lead HDAC Inhibitor into Phase I/II Cancer Trials

  • Acetylon Pharmaceuticals raised $27 million in a Series B round of private equity financing to progress its lead Class II-selective HDAC inhibitor drug candidate ACY-1215 into Phase I/II clinical trials in patients with relapsed and relapsed-refractory multiple myeloma. Just last month the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society committed up to $4.85 million in milestone-tranched funding to support a Phase I/II clinical trial with the candidate.

    Acetylon says a portion of the Series B financing will be used to progress its preclinical pipeline of additional selective HDAC inhibitors for noncancer indications including autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

    The firm is exploiting its Iterative Biasing Chemistry (IBC) drug development platform to develop selective HDAC enzyme inhibitors in multiple therapeutic areas. The IBC platform is designed to provide a rapid, efficient approach to discerning small molecule drug structure-activity relationships for selective HDAC inhibition, Acetylon claims.

    Lead clinical candidate ACY-1215 is a selective HDAC6 inhibitor in development initially for the treatment of hematologic and solid tumor cancers. Acetylon is in addition developing a preclinical pipeline of selective HDAC6 inhibitors as potential disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and is exploring the potential for selective inhibition of other Class II HDACs for the treatment of inflammatory disorders, and potentially neurodegenerative diseases, parasitic infections, and major genetic diseases including sickle cell disease and thalassemia major. The firm says unpublished data has already demonstrated the potent inhibition of the life cycle Plasmodium falciparum in human blood cells without appreciable toxicity to white blood cells.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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