By Chris Delporte
NewBiotics Inc. raised $11 million in its third round of financing.
The company completed its first round early in 1999, totaling $2.4 million. NewBiotics¿ Series B financing in March 2000 raised $6.3 million.
Raymond Poon, executive vice president for San Diego-based NewBiotics, said the company has 30 days to come up with any additional funding before this round closes completely.
¿In addition to the initial close of the round, which happened last Friday, we hope to raise another $3 million to $4 million,¿ Poon told BioWorld Today. ¿But until the money comes in, you just don¿t know for sure.¿
NewBiotics, a private company founded in 1997, said it would use the funding to continue development of its lead compounds in cancer and infectious disease. NB1011, being developed for drug-resistant colorectal cancer, is expected to enter clinical trials later this year at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California cancer centers. NewBiotics¿ investigational new drug application was filed with the FDA in February and approved in March. Poon said enrollment should begin sometime during the fourth quarter.
NB1011 is based on the company¿s core enzyme catalyzed therapeutic agent (ECTA) technology for targeted cancer and anti-infective drug discovery. According to NewBiotics, the technology is designed to enhance the beneficial effects of antibiotic therapy or chemotherapy while reducing damage done to healthy cells. NewBiotics said it identified one of the key resistance mechanisms blocking the full therapeutic effects of commonly used chemotherapeutics such as fluoropyrimidines, Tomudex and doxorubicin. ECTA technology uses the resistance mechanism to generate antitumor compounds inside the cancer cell.
¿Our ECTA technology is an approach to drug development that is mindful of the increasing problems of drug toxicity and resistance,¿ Thomas Mizelle, NewBiotics¿ CEO, said in a prepared statement. ¿NewBiotics¿ compounds are designed to kill cancer cells and bacteria preferentially by taking advantage of drug-resistance mechanisms instead of exacerbating them.¿
NewBiotics and Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, recently formed a joint venture to develop and commercialize NB1011 in the U.S., Canada and Europe. NewBiotics will retain exclusive rights to the product in Japan, Asia and other areas of the world. Rights in Europe and North America will be controlled by the joint venture, and eventually those rights will be split on a 50-50 basis. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 7, 2001.)
Elan will invest in Series D preferred shares of NewBiotics at a premium price. In addition, Elan will make certain up-front and milestone payments, and make a line of credit available to NewBiotics.
NewBiotics also is working on platform technology called Target Informatics.
The platform compares genetic differences between normal cells and cancer cells or pathogens, and is used to identify key enzymes critical to drug resistance and disease progression. The company said it will develop certain drug targets in-house and license others.
¿It is a core addition to our ongoing work with cancer and anti-infectives,¿ Poon said. ¿We are able to identify many more enzyme targets for drug development. Currently in the research stage, we have added a whole lot of enzyme targets and are working through them to get them down to a manageable number. That¿s a real potential pipeline for us. We have identified one enzyme with informatics that we have carried through with some proof-of-concept studies.¿
This round of funding was led by GeneChem Therapeutics Venture Fund, of Montreal, and included three additional new investors: F.A.T. Chemical Ltd. and Cheng Xin Technology Development Corp., both of Taiwan, and BioVeda Capital Pte. Ltd., of Singapore. Previous investors also participating in this round were IngleWood Ventures, of San Diego; Life Science Partners, of Amsterdam, the Netherlands; HMCH Ventures, of Minneapolis; Timkin Trust and other individual investors.