Nordic drugmakers raise $29M to expand cancer clinical trial programs

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A pair of Nordic drugmakers has raised a combined $29 million (€26 million) to advance and expand their respective cancer trials. Midphase renal cancer and melanoma player Immunicum (STO:IMMU) accounted for SEK 128 million ($15.5 million) of the money, while Targovax lined up NOK 110 million ($13.3 million) to invest in its immuno-oncology trial program.

Gothenburg, Sweden-based Immunicum is furthest along with its fundraising activities. The company wrapped up an SEK 111 million rights issue earlier this month, before going on to offload a portion of the overallotment. Immunicum will funnel the money into clinical development of its pipeline, the lead candidate in which is an allogeneic dendritic cell vaccine.

“The issue will allow us to expand our ongoing Phase II trial in renal cancer and initiate clinical Phase I/II trials in melanoma,” Immunicum CEO Jamal El-Mosleh said in a statement. “Thereby, we can continue our strategic initiative to broaden the number of cancer indications in clinical phase and strengthen our market position for future licensing of our product candidates.”

Immunicum is looking to the Phase II renal cell carcinoma trial to deliver data to support its hypothesis that its vaccine, Intuvax, can improve outcomes by recruiting natural killer cells, dendritic cells and ultimately cytotoxic T-lymphocytes to take out tumors. With that 90-person trial already up and running, Immunicum has enlisted CRO Accelovance to advance its ambitions to trial Intuvax in patients with kidney cancer and melanoma.

Oslo, Norway-based Targovax is also going after melanoma. A Phase Ib trial of ONCOS-102, a human serotype 5 adenovirus, in patients with immune checkpoint refractory melanoma is penciled in to start this year. The study will give ONCOS-102 in combination with an immune checkpoint inhibitor. The study is one of a slate of trials either already underway or in planning at Targovax. This week’s financing is intended to bankroll these studies and supporting CMC activities.

- read Immunicum’s release
- and Targovax’s statement

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