ValiRx is approaching a pivotal point in its development as it waits for clinical results from two lead programs that it hopes will net it a development partner.
The U.K.-based biotech—which has just raised £1 million (around $1.3 million) in a fundraising round—expects to disclose phase 1/2 data on lead drug VAL201 in prostate cancer later this month, along with midstage data for lung cancer candidate VAL401.
News of the fundraising and clinical update sparked a short-lived spike in ValiRx shares on the London AIM, although it was quickly reversed, doing little to counteract what has been a fairly steady decline in the stock over the past year.
The new funds will be used for “advancing the clinical trial of VAL201 and for the preclinical progress of other programmes,” said the company in a statement, adding that it believes the share price rise is “a consequence of comments and analysis surrounding the company's developmental pipeline.”
VAL201 is a peptide drug, delivered by subcutaneous injection, that is being tested in a single-agent trial in patients with locally advanced or metastatic advanced prostate carcinoma. In September, the company said it had seen signs of clinical activity, including a reduction in the prostate cancer biomarker PSA and disease stabilization, with no serious safety issues in patients treated to that date.
Meanwhile, VAL401—being taken forward by ValiRx’ ValiSeek unit—is a repurposed drug, a new formulation of risperidone that has more than two decades of clinical experience as an antipsychotic treatment, and ValiRx hopes to show in the forthcoming trial that it can improve quality of life in patients with advanced lung cancer.
Pharmacokinetic data reported in September showed that VAL401 behaved like current formulations of risperidone, which should allow ValiRx to reference earlier trials as prepares for additional studies and—potentially—future marketing applications. It also suggested a dose for future trials of 2mg, which is well within the usual dosing range for risperidone.
ValiRx’ nonexecutive chairman Oliver de Giorgio-Miller said at the time that the company has “seen considerable progress across our therapeutic portfolio in the last six months, adding value to the company's assets and bringing us closer to the point where our clinical programmes for VAL201 and VAL401 will deliver meaningful data and will bring the company closer to finding a partner.”