2023 has been a banner year for San Diego-based siRNA biotech ADARx Pharmaceuticals, with two assets jumping to the clinic and $200 million brought in through one of the largest private financing rounds of the year.
Next year could be even bigger, as ADARx collects early data on clinical programs that have caught the eye of investors and Big Pharmas.
“The street has started to pay attention to us," CEO Zhen Li, Ph.D., told Fierce Biotech in an interview.
ADARx has accrued the kind of momentum seen in many of the biotechs that have gone public so far in 2023. Li says the company is “considering [an] IPO but timing has not been decided yet.”
“Everyone tells us we can go but, you know, we have money, we have runway,” she said. “Everything is on the table. No decision has been made yet.”
Instead, ADARx is focused on launching a third clinical trial for a program targeting the angiotensinogen hormone in the first quarter of next year, according to Li. She didn’t expand on which indications the company would look at, but others in the space, like Ionis Pharmaceuticals, have aimed to treat hypertension by silencing the gene. Li also expects to file a new clinical trial application for the company’s lead central nervous system program next year, though it may not actually reach patients until 2025.
The potential trial schedule means that ADARx is not taking its foot off the gas after launching two programs into the clinic this year. Data are starting to roll in for the first trial, testing ADX-324 in patients with hereditary angioedema (HAE). Li says early data in healthy volunteers show “very deep knockdown” of prekallikrein proteins, which play a key role in HAE attacks. Part B of the trial, which will enroll HAE patients, is set to begin before the end of the year with a phase 2 trial on the docket for 2024.
“I think it's the data that really attracts the investors,” she said.
The data have also drawn interest from pharmaceutical companies. All four programs Li laid out are wholly owned, but, even with the $200 million financing, she and the ADARx team “can’t do it all.” She also alluded to an early target validation collaboration underway with an unnamed pharma.
“We are also considering early collaboration on some novel target that a pharma company has identified,” she said.