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Cash influx will help Redx develop promising pre-clinical drug candidates

It has already got £7.2mln of the £14.9mln it is looking to raise, which will help fund the development of two promising cancer drug candidates: RXC004 and RXC005
cancer cells
Both RXC004 and RXC005 should have started first-in-human trials by the end of 2017

Earlier this week Redx Pharma Plc (LON:REDX) unveiled plans to raise up to £14.9mln that will be used to develop two promising pre-clinical candidates.

Just under £7.2mln of that has already been raised in the first tranche of the fundraising, with more to come once the open offer is completed.

WATCH: CEO talks about funding this ‘critical phase’ of growth at Redx

The new cash injection will allow the company to push its highly promising cancer immunotherapy drug called a Porcupine inhibitor through early clinical studies to assess its safety.

The funds will also be used to carry out work that will make its Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitor “clinic-ready”.

Animal rescue?

Porcupine inhibitors are a new and potentially breakthrough method of fighting cancer.

They work by targeting cancer stems cells that can often lie dormant after traditional treatment and are associated with a recurrence of the illness.

The thinking goes that if you kill the stem cells, you have a chance of eradicating the disease completely.

There is a growing bank of research that has found they may also be very effective in tandem with checkpoint inhibitors such as anti-PD-1, which lower or break cancer’s defence against the body’s immune system.

That’s why Redx announced earlier this month that the upcoming trial of its RXC004 Porcupine inhibitor will assess the drug in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor as well as deploying it as a single treatment to tackle cancer.

Redx – which is currently finalising its clinical has said that the “combination arm” to the study reflects its “belief in the validity of this approach”.

So Redx, which is currently finalising its clinical trial application here in the UK, will build in a “combination arm” to the study, “reflecting our belief in the validity of this approach”.

As it stands, Swiss pharmaceutical giant is the only drug major with a Porcupine inhibitor in the clinic.

Looking at leukaemia as well

In addition to RXC004, Redx found another candidate from its cancer drug programme towards the end of 2016.

RXC005 – a Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor or BTK for short – is being designed for use in people with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Importantly, it is also targeting those who have built up a resistance to the current best-in-class treatment, Imbruvica (often referred to as Ibrutinib).

The drug is being developed as a second-generation of compound which has fewer side-effects than the market leader.

Some of the £15mln Redx has just raised will be used to carry out work that will make RXC005 “clinic-ready”.

First-in-human trials are expected to get underway before 2017 is out.

What the boss says

“Redx has made tremendous progress since its IPO two years ago and 2017 should be a pivotal year as we transition to a clinical stage company,” said chief executive Neil Murray.

“We expect our Porcupine inhibitor, RXC004, to commence first-in-human trials within the next few months.  This compound shows exciting potential as a monotherapy for difficult to treat cancers, such as pancreatic, biliary and gastric cancer, and also as a combination therapy with Checkpoint inhibitors, which use the body's immune system to attack tumours.

“We are preparing our BTK inhibitor, RXC005, for first-in-human clinical trials by the end of the year.  This drug candidate has the potential to transform the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, the most common form of adult leukaemia.

“The new funds we are raising will support the ongoing progress of these important assets as well as the rest of our pipeline and we remain very positive about Redx's prospects.”

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