Wilex - 2005 Fierce 15 revisited

Based: Munich, Germany
Founded: 1997

Bottom line: There's no short cut for cancer. Wilex is still deeply involved in clinical trial work.

What we said: 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 happened: Wilex went public in November, 2006, and it's been zealous about keeping investors updated on its slow and steady progress with several cancer programs.  Backed by SAP founder Dietmar Hopp, Wilex has two cancer drugs in late-stage trials. The developer announced recently that it had completed patient recruitment for the late-stage trial of Redectane and got a green light to push ahead with a Phase I study of its MEK inhibitor WX-554. Rencarex is currently in a pivotal Phase III trial as an adjuvant therapy of patients with non-metastatic clear cell renal cell cancer. When it filed for a regulatory approval for the Phase I Wilex earned the first of its milestones due under a deal it struck with UCB. UCB gave Wilex 10 million euros when it licensed the drug and agreed to pay 10 million more by the time it reached first dose in man. Mesupron, meanwhile, delivered preliminary, promising data for pancreatic cancer.

Wilex - 2005 Fierce 15 revisited