BioWorld International Correspondent
LONDON - Lipoxen plc reversed into cash shell Greenchip Investments plc and raised £3.78 million (US$6.8 million) in a placement on London's Alternative Investment Market, giving the company the funds to take products into clinical development.
"We did have venture capital interest, but decided to go the public route," Scott Maguire, CEO, told BioWorld International. "Greenchip has a number of well-known institutional shareholders and a board that could bolster Lipoxen's board."
Lipoxen is applying its platform technologies to rejuvenate marketed drugs. It describes the first, PolyXen, as the next generation of PEGylation. PolyXen is based on a natural polymer, polysialic acid, which Lipoxen says prolongs the half-life and pharmacokinetics of both small molecule and protein drugs.
Lipoxen claims several advantages for PolyXen over PEGylating drugs with synthetic polymers, including fewer potential toxicity issues and a lower level of inactivation of the active compound.
At the same time, the key advantage of PEGylation, which is the increase in the half-life of the PEGylated drug, is in most cases mirrored, and in some exceeded, by PolyXen.
"These [advantages] have been demonstrated preclinically with interferon," Maguire said.
Not only do PolyXen drugs need less of the active ingredient, but polysialic acid is a byproduct of E. coli fermentation. "This will mean the cost of goods is less, but we haven't projected the reductions yet, because we need clinical data," Maguire said.
The second platform technology, ImuXen, is a liposomal system for delivering DNA and protein vaccines, and can be administered by various routes, including orally. London-based Lipoxen has used the platforms to establish a pipeline of 13 products. Through a co-development agreement with the Serum Institute, of Pune, India, the world's largest vaccines manufacturer, Lipoxen has rights to 10 products, including versions of erythropoietin and granulocyte colony stimulating factor, and a number of vaccines.
It has developed proprietary interferon alpha and a human insulin, also. In addition, Lipoxen has a collaboration with Baxter Healthcare to conjugate PolyXen with Baxter's Factor VIII blood product for hemophiliacs, and agreements with Amgen Inc., Genentech Inc. and Genzyme Corp. for unnamed products.
Maguire said the money raised will fund Lipoxen into 2007, by when it expects to have clinical data. The company will take a two-pronged approach to clinical development, with products going into trials in India and Europe.