Money keeps pouring into TransTech Pharma Inc., which added $30 million in committed funding to a Series E preferred stock round.
The High Point, N.C.-based company closed on the first tranche of $10 million, and subsequent closings for the remaining $20 million are scheduled later this year and next. The $30 million expansion brings the total amount of funds raised or committed in the fifth round of private financing to $65 million; TransTech opened the round with $35 million last year.
The company's president and CEO, Adnan Mjalli, said investors' confidence stems in part from TransTech's advancements in drug development. Specifically, progress in its two clinical programs - one to treat coagulation and another for Alzheimer's disease - and in its collaborative work, played a role in securing the expanded financing round.
"We are running differently now in that we have been actively building our development team," Mjalli told BioWorld Today. "In the first three years of the company, we were focused on research to find molecules that would work against novel targets to be used against unmet medical needs. Once we found them, we knew we needed to build the expertise to help us bring these compounds forward to the clinic."
To date, TransTech has raised about $100 million. Mjalli founded the business in 1999.
The company will use a portion of its latest proceeds to advance several of its small-molecule drug programs over the next year and a half.
Its lead candidate, TTP889, is scheduled to enter Phase II testing this fall for thromboembolic disorders. In May, the company completed Phase I work on the selective inhibitor of the intrinsic coagulation pathway.
"It's a compound that's orally bioavailable and most likely will be a once-daily dose," Mjalli said. "It has a unique mechanism designed to minimize, if not eliminate, the inherent problems of bleeding associated with current anti-thrombotic approaches and agents."
Earlier this year, TransTech filed its second investigational new drug application to begin Phase I testing of an orally active drug for Alzheimer's. The clinical program began last month. Mjalli, who said the drug produced positive results in animal models, added that the company hopes to move it into Phase II trials during the first quarter of next year.
It also expects to advance other preclinical drug candidates into clinical trials next year to target other indications such as diabetes and obesity, as well as backup Alzheimer's compounds.
"They are in animal studies," Mjalli said. "We are at a stage to select a number of these molecules to go through the development pipeline."
The company's therapeutic small molecules stem from its high-throughput drug discovery platform, Translational Technology. In addition to its internal drug discovery programs, TransTech is involved in two major research collaborations to discover and develop drug candidates with a pair of partners, Novo Nordisk A/S and Cephalon Inc.
"They are moving forward very nicely," Mjalli said, "and we will most likely have a press release shortly in at least one of them."
Its alliance with Bagsvaerd, Denmark-based Novo is focused on the discovery and development of molecules for diabetes, and its relationship with West Chester, Pa.-based Cephalon is centered on the discovery and development of molecules for Alzheimer's and cancer.
Investors in the latest financing round included TransTech's largest shareholder, New York-based MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, as well as Novo. Cephalon, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, made an investment during the initial part of the Series E round.