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e-Therapeutics raises £40m to support oncology pipeline

Will fund development of ETS2101 for brain cancer and other potential indications

UK biopharma company e-Therapeutics will raise about £40m ($62m) from a recapitalisation programme that will help fund phase II development of its lead cancer drug.

The company said yesterday it had secured "irrevocable" commitments for 125 million new shares from new and existing investors that would leave it with a cash position of £48m, enough to fund operations into 2017 when it hopes to be in a position to find its first licensing partner.

Around £25m of the total will be used to complete phase I testing and fund efficacy trials for ETS2101, and in particular a phase II trial involving 100 patients with brain cancer (glioma) and a 100- to 150-patient phase Ib/II trial that will look at the drug's potential in other oncology applications.

ETS2101 (dexanabinol) is a synthetic cannabinoid that has previously been studied in trauma patients. e-Therapeutics identified the drug's potential in cancer using its network pharmacology platform, which analyses diseases to find sets of proteins or "signatures" that can be targeted for therapeutic effect, and matches them to potential drug candidates.

Preclinical studies indicated ETS2101 can induce programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cell lines through actions on nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB), in turn preventing the expression of genes such as tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a).

The company set up a dedicated facility near Oxford in the UK last year to house its network pharmacology operations, saying it intended to bring four new drug projects into the clinic.

At the moment its only other clinical candidate is ETS6103 - in phase II development for major depressive disorder - while preclinical testing is being carried out on a candidate for Clostridium difficile infections called ETX1153c.

The recapitalisation is still subject to approval at the company's annual general meeting on February 27.

12th February 2013

From: Research

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