Based: Munich, Germany
Why It's Fierce: Wilex's lead candidate is Rencarex, which is in a Phase III trial. In Phase II, researchers separated out a group of 10 patients -- out of an original 36 -- with stage four metastatic renal cell cancer which showed a response to the drug. Patients receiving extended treatment had a survival rate of 70% at a two-year stage compared to 26% in the group that discontinued treatment. The literature for other systemic treatments indicates a two-year survival rate of 16%. The Munich-based biotech just raised $39 million in its third round and has plans for researching two other treatments, WX-UK1 for breast cancer and WX-671.
What to look for: Dr. Olaf Wilhelm, CEO and scientist, expects to start finalizing Phase III data in 2007 with a filing in 2008. Phase II for UK1 is expected to start either by the end of this year or the beginning of next. He has enough cash to get the company into 2007, but he is looking to complete a partnering deal for a fresh injection of cash. An IPO is an option, but the financial climate in Europe for biotechs would have to get a lot better than it is today.