BioWorld International Correspondent
ZICHRON YAAKOV, Israel - BioLineRx said current investors are placing $9 million more in the drug development company, following confirmation that its patented BL-1020 compound to treat schizophrenia met the newest recommendations and guidelines of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.
The guidelines were published with the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Efficacy study, and by meeting them, it shows that BL-1020 has the antipsychotic effects of clozapine and olanzapine without the metabolic side effects of other antipsychotic drugs.
The $9 million follow-on investment came from Giza Venture Capital, Pitango Venture Capital and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., and also included Hadasit, Star Ventures and the Jerusalem Development Authority.
BioLineRx, of Jerusalem, anticipates that the company's BL-1020 first-in-class treatment for schizophrenia will enter clinical trials in the first quarter.
"These additional funds will be used to advance our robust pipeline of proprietary therapeutic candidates through clinical trials," Morris Laster, CEO of BioLineRx, told BioWorld International. "Since BioLineRx was formed in 2003, we have worked with a leading team of drug developers to in-license high potential candidates, leveraging Israel's innovative power.
Since May 2004, BioLineRx has in-licensed nine compounds. Eight are in preclinical development, including BL-1020; BL-1030, a novel small molecule for inflammatory bowel disease, with "first in man" studies planned for early 2007; BL-1040, for treatment of acute myocardial infarction; and BL-2040, a novel small molecule for metabolic syndrome that has completed its first stage of efficacy testing.