Radius brought in $29 million from a potential $57.5 million Series C financing round, money that will be used to advance development of four programs targeting women's health.
The financing came shortly after the Cambridge, Mass., company began Phase II testing of its lead product, BA058, an analogue of parathyroid hormone-related protein being developed for osteoporosis. The money also will support the start of clinical trials for RAD1901, a new-class selective estrogen receptor modulator being developed for relieving hot flashes associated with menopause and to prevent the bone loss caused by osteoporosis.
"We were thrilled with the amount of money we were able to raise, and the interest from new investors," Radius CEO Richard Lyttle said. "And the support from existing investors was gratifying." It means a lot for the company, he told BioWorld Today, in terms of being able to move programs forward.
The remaining $28.5 million from the financing would be received if certain conditions were met. Nick Harvey, chief financial officer at Radius, said specific triggers and the potential timing of the additional money were not being disclosed. He said, however, that the money's release is tied to the attainment of two milestones.
Radius, formerly Nuvios Inc., was founded in 2002 with a small angel round, which it refers to as its Series A financing. Radius raised $24 million in November 2003 in a Series B financing. The initial technology was focused on biology surrounding nongenotropic cellular pathways to develop anabolic agents knows as ANGELS for building bone in osteoporosis and related metabolic diseases.
The focus since then has shifted to the four later-stage programs, each of which was acquired through in-licensing deals. Radius has worldwide rights, outside of Japan, to its two lead programs. BA058 was acquired in December 2005 in a deal with Paris-based Ipsen SA, which was entitled to undisclosed up-front, milestone and royalty payments. RAD1901 was acquired from Toyo-based Eisai Co. Ltd. in June 2006 in a deal for which terms were not disclosed.
That deal with Eisai was followed closely by two other licensing deals. In August, Radius got rights to a class of selective estrogen receptor modulators targeting endometriosis and other inflammatory diseases, from the University of Illinois. And in September, it got rights from Huddinge, Sweden-based Karo Bio AB, outside the Nordic region, to a class of selective androgen receptor modulators for treating osteoporosis and sarcopenia (a decline in skeletal muscle).
Radius began enrolling patients in the Phase II trial of BA058 about two weeks ago. The study is evaluating the ability of the PTHrP agent to build bone in 225 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. The trial is comparing BA058 to placebo and to Forteo, a form of human parathyroid hormone marketed by Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.
Lyttle said the goal is to show the ability to build bone without inducing hypercalcemia or significant bone resorption, thereby proving benefits vs. existing bone anabolic therapies. That is the first trial in what is expected to be a wider Phase II program.
Data from the lead Phase II trial are expected in late 2008, he said. After Phase II, the plan would be to partner BA058 due to the cost, duration and size of a Phase III program that would be required in that indication.
Meanwhile, the financing also will support Phase I trials of RAD 1901, which is distinguished by being a SERM agonist rather than an antagonist. An investigational new drug application filing is expected by the end of this year, Lyttle said.
Both products, he noted, target large unmet medical needs and large markets.
Next in line would be the SARM program, followed by development of the estrogen receptor-beta program.
Radius also intends to continue looking for other opportunities in the area, particularly for compounds a little further along in development. An example, Lyttle said, could be a compound that was developed for indications outside women's health that might have applicability in that area.
Lyttle, brought on as CEO in October 2004, previously was vice president of discovery for women's health and bone as well as head of the Women's Health Research Institute at Wyeth, of Madison, N.J.
The full name of the company is Radius Health Inc. Company officials, however, prefer the firm just to be called "Radius."
Existing investor MPM Capital and new investor The Wellcome Trust co-led the Series C financing. They were joined in the round by existing investors HealthCare Ventures and Oxford Bioscience Partners, as well as new investors BB Biotech Ventures and Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.