Fledgling Norwegian biotech BerGenBio has raised 212 million kroner ($25 million) in a private placement from existing shareholders to help pay for new clinical trials for its lead treatment in blood and lung cancers.
The drug, BGB324, is a first-in-class Axl kinase inhibitor that is currently being studied in a Phase Ib trial in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), as well as in a Phase Ib trial in patients with Stage IIIb and Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
The drug is the first selective, orally bioavailable, small molecule Axl kinase inhibitor in clinical development, according to BerGenBio. It works by blocking the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is a key driver in immune evasion, drug-resistance and metastasis in cancers.
Richard Godfrey, CEO of BerGenBio, said: "We are very pleased to have received this new investment from our shareholders at this important time in the company's development and would like to thank them for their continued support. The proceeds will be used primarily to support the ongoing clinical and commercial development of our lead asset BGB324, as we prepare to open several Phase II combination trials."
The extra cash builds on the $12.5 million it raised back in early 2014 and the $6 million raised the year before.