Firm claims lead candidate galeterone has a three-pronged mechanism of activity.

Prostate cancer therapeutics firm Tokai Pharmaceuticals raised $23 million in a Series D3 round of financing to support ongoing early clinical development of its lead candidate galeterone (TOK-001). Both the firm’s current investors, Novartis Venture Fund and Apple Tree Partners, participated in the fundraising.

Galeterone is an orally administered, small molecule drug designed to disrupt growth and survival of prostate cancer cells. The firm says preclinical studies have shown the molecule has a three-pronged anticancer mechanism, acting as an androgen receptor antagonist, as a CYP17 lyase inhibitor, and also  by decreasing androgen receptor levels in prostate tumors.

A Phase I proof-of-concept study with galeterone has been carried out as part of the Armor (androgen receptor modulation optimized for response) clinical development program for galeterone. The dose-ranging trial involved 49 patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer. It evaluated treatment-related safety and changes in prostate-specific antigen levels from baseline. Phase II studies are reportedly being planned.

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