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GEN News Highlights : Mar 7, 2012

Aragon Raises $42M to Progress Prostate and Breast Cancer Drugs

Lead clinical-stage candidate is designed to block nuclear translocation and binding of androgen receptor.

Aragon Pharmaceuticals raised $42 million in an oversubscribed Series C round of financing led by new Investor Topspin Fund. Existing investors Aisling Capital, OrbiMed Advisors, and The Column Group also participated. Aragon will use the funds to progress its early clinical and preclinical-stage pipeline of drugs for the treatment of hormone-drive cancers.

Founded in 2009, Aragon is exploiting a drug discovery platform built to identify and develop androgen receptor- and estrogen receptor-targeting drugs for the treatment of relevant prostate and breast cancers. Lead candidate ARN-509 is an androgen receptor antagonist designed to inhibit nuclear translocation and DNA binding of the receptor.

The drug is in early clinical development for the treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Aragon recently reported positive data from the Phase I portion of a dose-escalating Phase I/II trial evaluating ARN-509 in patients with progressive metastatic CRPC. Data from the Phase II stage of the study are expected later this year. The firm says it also plans to actively push its first breast cancer therapeutic candidate into the clinic.

Aragon’s selective estrogen receptor degraders (SERDs) are designed to bind the estrogen receptor and function as antagonists but also induce a conformational change that results in receptor degradation. The firm is in parallel carrying out a discovery stage program to identify selective androgen receptor degraders for the treatment of prostate cancer.