Raising $45 million in its Series C financing, Salmedix Inc. intends to continue along its current path - working in the clinic with three oncology candidates and investigating several others at the preclinical stage.

"As a third round, it's very healthy, and it will help us to significantly advance our product pipeline," said David Kabakoff, chairman and CEO of San Diego-based Salmedix.

The third round gives the company about two years of money, he said.

Salmedix still had money left over from its $27.5 million Series B financing, conducted in June 2002, but the company managed to complete the Series C much earlier than it expected.

"We were fortunate and successful to complete this in the first quarter," Kabakoff told BioWorld Today.

Salmedix has three clinical candidates, including its most advanced drug, SDX-105, which is in Phase II and Phase III trials in North America and Europe. The company expects to present data this fall at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology to be held in San Diego.

Salmedix began its Phase II/III program with SDX-105 last fall. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 1, 2003.)

At that time, the company said it hoped to file a new drug application within three years. SDX-105 (bendamustine) is an alkylating agent that has been on the market in Germany for decades to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma, breast cancer and other solid tumors. Salmedix licensed it in North America from Munich, Germany-based Fujisawa Deutschland GmbH.

Salmedix's two other candidates are SDX-101, which will enter its second Phase II trial later this year for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and SDX-102, which is in a Phase II trial directed at a number of solid tumors, including non-small-cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, sarcoma and mesothelioma. The trial is accruing patients through the end of this year, Kabakoff said.

While all three of Salmedix's clinical compounds were in-licensed, the company's preclinical candidates include some internally developed compounds. Salmedix has publicly discussed two of them, one of which is SDX-103, a selective tubulin-binding agent that induces apoptosis. The other preclinical candidate is as an analogue of SDX-101.

"These SDX-101 analogues have the same interesting mechanism of action and are potential candidates for development for other cancer indications other than the indications for SDX-101," Kabakoff said.

Salmedix, which was founded in November 2000, focuses mainly on products for hematologic cancers. It raised $10 million in its Series A financing, and $27.5 million in its Series B financing. (See BioWorld Today, June 21, 2002.)

A new investor, HIG Ventures, of Atlanta, led the Series C financing. Other new investors were OrbiMed Advisors, of New York; Easton Hunt Capital Partners, of New York; Hunt Ventures, of New York; Novo A/S, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark; Quilvest Capital, of Paris; and Clariden Bank, of Zurich, Switzerland. Existing investors were InterWest Partners, of Menlo Park, Calif.; Versant Ventures, of Menlo Park; Alexandria Equities, of Pasadena, Calif.; CMEA Ventures, of San Francisco; Delphi Ventures, of Menlo Park; ProQuest Investments, of San Diego; Ventures West, of Vancouver, British Columbia; Aberdare Partners, of San Francisco; GeneChem Therapeutics Venture Fund, of Montreal; and BioFrontier Global Investment Partnership, of Tokyo.

Two investors - Aaron Davidson, of HIG Ventures, and Sam Wertheimer, of OrbiMed Advisors - joined the Salmedix board.