ASX-listed Alzheimer's drug developer Actinogen Medical (ASX: ACW) has announced promising interim results and welcomed a major new international investor as part of a $15million capital raise.
Actinogen revealed that major biotech fund BVF Partners were taking a 19.9 per cent stake onto its register, which is the maximum allowable before a takeover offer is required under ASX rules, while Australian institutional investors Platinum Investment Management and Australian Ethical Investment are also taking stakes.
The capital raising announcement was released along with a promising set of interim results from Actinogen's Phrase 2 clinical trials of Alzheimer's treatment Xanamen.
In interim analysis of the Phase 2 Trial by an independent Data Safety and Monitoring Board (DSMB) has concluded the study can continue without modification.
The proceeds of the capital raise will be used to advance the company's development plan for Xanamem.
This plan includes, among others, a study exploring a higher dose of Xanamem in Alzheimer's disease and studies conducted in alternative clinical indications.
"It is important that the company continues to expand the potential clinical applications of Xanamem while rapidly advancing our existing Alzheimer's disease development plan. This BVF investment will underpin both these important arms of the company's strategy," says Dr Bill Ketelbey (pictured), CEO of Actinogen Medical.
"If Xanamem is shown to safely and effectively treat dementia due to Alzheimer's disease, it would represent a very significant breakthrough in the management of this devastating disease."
Alzheimer's is the second biggest killer of Australians. Worldwide around 50 million people have dementia, of which Alzheimer's is responsible for 60-70 per cent of cases, according to the World Health Organisation.
BVF, which also took 19.9 per cent of ASX-listed Pharmaxis last year, says it is "impressed by the calibre and dedication of the company's management team, board and scientific advisors."
"While any investment in a disease as prevalent and debilitating as Alzheimer's disease is high risk, we believe that Xanamem, if successful, offers the extraordinary promise of improving the lives of millions of people worldwide," says Mark Lampert, founder and general partner of BVF.
Actinogen Medical is a biotech company focused on innovative approaches to treating cognitive decline that occurs in chronic neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases. Actinogen Medical is developing Xanamem, a promising new therapy for Alzheimer's disease, a condition with a multibillion dollar market potential.
The company says Xanamem's mechanism of action sets it apart from other Alzheimer's treatments. It works by blocking the excess production of cortisol - the stress hormone through the inhibition of the 11-HSD1 enzyme in the brain.
This enzyme is highly concentrated in the hippocampus and frontal cortex, the areas of the brain most affected by Alzheimer's disease. There is a strong association between chronic stress and excess cortisol that leads to changes in the brain affecting memory, and to the development of amyloid plaques and neural death all hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease.
Business News Australia