Swedish firm Axelar raised €13.7 million (about $19.9 million) in a financing round with a syndicate of investors, including its major shareholder Karolinska Development, to fund the completion of Phase II non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) trials with lead oncology candidate AXL1717.
AXL1717 is a targeted oral small-molecule IGF-1 receptor inhibitor that Axelar claims has no effect on the closely related insulin receptor. In April the firm reported data from the completed first part of an ongoing, 45-patient Phase I/II clinical trial evaluating AXL1717 in the treatment of solid tumors. The completed first part of the study, involving 35 patients, consisted of a single-day dosing and multidosing. The data provided evidence that AXL1717 is safe and tolerable, and it identified a dose for Phase II testing. The study has now been amended to a Phase II design and will involve twice-daily dosing of AXL1717 in two cycles over 28 days to confirm the Phase II regimen and evaluate early evidence of antitumor effects, Axelar notes. A Phase II program is expected to start late 2011.
The firm is initially focused on developing AXL1717 for oncology applications but says the drug has resulted in promising preclinical data for other diseases, including restenosis after angioplasty and macular degeneration.