Noxxon Pharma has become the latest German biotech to head to Amsterdam in search of money from public investors. The company is seeking cash to bankroll the advance of NOX-A12, a drug designed to boost the effectiveness of other treatments through modulation of the tumor microenvironment.
|Noxxon CEO Aram Mangasarian|
Berlin, Germany-based Noxxon, a company that has long been tipped as a possible IPO candidate, has built its pipeline around a class of drugs dubbed spiegelmers, which it thinks combine many of the attractive traits of small molecules and biologics. Research into the class led Noxxon to NOX-A12, the drug on which its near-term hopes now rest. NOX-A12 has already come through a pair of Phase IIa trials, the data from which have given Noxxon the confidence to set its sights on a suite of pivotal studies. Late-phase trials in multiple myeloma, solid tumors and brain cancer are all planned.
Noxxon intends to trial NOX-A12 in combination with other therapies, setting the drug up to play a role in the anticipated boom in cancer cocktails. "Our lead product candidate NOX-A12 has the potential to become a cornerstone of combination therapy by significantly improving the efficacy of current and future cancer treatments," Noxxon CEO Aram Mangasarian said in a statement. The optimism stems from a belief in the ability of NOX-A12 to modulate the tumor microenvironment, notably by exposing hidden cancer cells, breaking down protective barriers and stopping repair.
The intended effects of NOX-A12 derive from its interaction with the signalling protein c-x-c chemokine ligand 12 (CXCL12). NOX-A12 is designed to bind to two important sites on CXCL12 and, in doing so, impair its ability to facilitate the proliferation of the tumor and development of new blood vessels. If NOX-A12 works as its developers expect, disrupting these operations will render the tumor vulnerable to attack, leading to existing therapeutics hitting harder. Noxxon needs the IPO money to test this theory in larger studies.
How receptive investors in Amsterdam are to the pitch, which talks up the "clear route to market" in front of NOX-A12, remains to be seen. The decision to pick the Netherlands for the IPO was based on multiple factors. Staying in Germany was dismissed because of the perceived lack of interest in biotech stocks, Mangasarian told Financieele Dagblad. And Nasdaq lost out to Euronext because the latter is simpler and cheaper for European companies, The decision, if it leads to a successful IPO, will put Noxxon alongside Curetis and Probiodrug in the growing German enclave in Amsterdam.