Noxxon Pharma raised €33 million (about $40.35 million) in a series D round of financing led by new investor, NGN Capital. Existing investors in Noxxon also participated. The firm plans to use the funds for continued development of its lead clinical and preclinical-stage products, which are based on its Spiegelmer® technology.
Spiegelmers are mirror-image oligonucleotides that can bind to a pharmacologically relevant target in a manner conceptually similar to an antibody—antigen interaction, Noxxon explains. The mirror image configuration of the oligonucleotides, however, are incredibly stable as they can’t be degraded by naturally occurring nucleases.
Noxxon’s lead Spiegelmer compound is NOX-E36, a picomolar inhibitor of the chemokine MCP-1. It is currently undergoing Phase I testing as a potential treatment for diabetic nephropathy and other complications of type 2 diabetes and in addition for the treatment of lupus nephritis.
In October 2009, Noxxon reported positive preliminary Phase I results suggesting that NOX-E36 administration leads to a dose-dependent decrease of peripheral blood monocytes. The firm says that this is consistent with the expected mode of action for NOX-E36. Multiple-dose studies are now being planned in healthy volunteers and noninsulin-dependent diabetic patients with multiple complications.
Noxxon’s s second clinical candidate is a specific antagonist of stromal cell-derived factor-1. The product is in development for use in autologous stem cell transplantation in hematological disorders. A first-in-man clinical trial with NOX-A12 was successfully completed in May, and a multiple-dose Phase I trial is scheduled to start by mid-2010.
In addition to its in-house pipieline, Noxxon is working on separate projects with Eli Lilly and Roche. The project with Lilly, for the development of Spiegelmer-based products for migraine therapy, was initiated in 2008. Noxxon’s collaboration with Roche centers on Spiegelmers for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and was initiated in 2007.