Midatech bags $16M round to back PhIIa studies on oral insulin program

The UK's Midatech has come up with a fresh injection of $16 million to back its therapeutic development work related to gold nanoparticle technology. The Swiss equity firm Ippon Capital provided the bulk of the money.

Over the last few months Midatech has been making steady progress with a joint venture it formed with MonoSol Rx dubbed MidaSol. The JV is taking Midatech's gold nanoparticle technology--which breaks a therapeutic into microscopic fragments--along with MonoSol's water-soluble film technology to create an oral insulin delivery vehicle for diabetics. The combined tech delivers insulin through the inner wall of a person's cheeks.

Their diabetes technology, which is currently partnered with an unnamed U.S. pharma company checking out how the delivery vehicle works with one of their target molecules, will be tested in two Phase IIa studies that should deliver proof-of-concept data in 2014. The biotech is also working on a GLP-1/insulin combo as well as preclinical cancer programs that could lead to new dosing regimens for oncology drugs.

CEO Jim Phillips says that the company plan calls for a large pharma company to take the diabetes program through late-stage studies, which would require a sizable sum to recruit the kind of large patient population needed to satisfy regulators on safety and efficacy. And a partner could use the technology for either a proprietary insulin analog or a nonproprietary insulin.

Phillips added that the latest fundraising brings the company's total to about $38 million. The new money will extend the biotech's financial runway at least two years and possibly take it to profitability, provided they can do a diagnostic outlicensing pact. The company has a staff of 30 in Abingdon, which should swell to 36-40 over the next year.

- here's the press release