Firm will work with academic collaborators to take EG013 into early clinical trials.

Ark Therapeutics and a consortium of academic collaborators have been awarded up to €6 million in EU funding to take the firm’s VEGF gene therapy candidate EG013 through final preclinical development and into early clinical trials as a treatment for fetal growth restriction (FGR) during pregnancy.

EG013 is an adenoviral vector carrying the VEGF-D gene, which is in development for treating severe FGR during the second trimester. Award of the six-year EU Framework Programme 7 Grant has been announced by Ark in parallel with confirmation that the firm has in addition been issued with a notice of allowance for a U.S. patent covering the EG013 program.

Ark is a gene-based therapeutics firm exploiting an adenoviral delivery platform to develop a pipeline of therapeutics for vascular diseases and cancer. It is in addition developing a small molecule therapeutics pipeline against vascular-related  targets in cancer and other relevant diseases. The firm separately offers biomanufacturing services to third parties, carried out at its site in Kuopio, Finland. During April its third and largest manufacturing facility was granted GMP certification by the Finnish Medicines Agency.

In addition to EG013, Ark’s VEGF-D gene therapy pipeline includes the early clinical-stage candidates EG011, which is undergoing clinical trials as a treatment for refractory angina, and EG016, which is being evaluated in a Phase I/IIa study in Finland for the treatment of peripheral vascular disease.

Ark is still looking to outlicense its malignant brain cancer gene therapy Cerepro, which was refused approval by the EC in 2009 until an additional clinical study is carried out. The firm is similarly looking to outlicense Trinam, an early clinical-stage product in development for use in maintaining vascular access in hemodialysis patients.

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