The intraocular injection of AXT107 microparticulate suspension will be explored in the DISCOVER study.
AsclepiX Therapeutics Inc. announced it has secured a $10 million Series A-3 financing.
According to a news release, the round was led by Perceptive Advisors with participation from the existing investors Hibiscus Capital Management Fund II and Rapha Capital Management and its managed fund, Rapha Capital PE Life Sciences Fund VI, in addition to a new outside investor.
“With the completion of this round, we are excited to embark into the next phase of our clinical development program,” Amir Shojaei, PhD, chief scientific officer and executive vice president of clinical development at AsclepiX, said in the news release. “The DISCOVER study, utilizing AXT107 microparticulate suspension, will evaluate the safety and tolerability of three doses of AXT107 in patients with wet AMD.”
Shojaei said in the news release the company looks forward to announcing the initiation of enrollment in early 2024.
The lead clinical candidate, integrin regulating peptide AXT107 (gersizangitide), has a novel mechanism of action that inhibits neovascularization, reduces vascular permeability, and suppresses vascular inflammation. As presented in a microparticulate suspension, AXT107 may be capable of maintaining sustained biological activity with one injection well beyond current standard of care.
“Despite the challenging investment climate, the successful raise is a testament to the technology,” Chris Garabedian, board director, said in the news release. “We have great confidence in the AsclepiX leadership team, the potential of AXT107 as a novel approach to treat neovascular retinal diseases, and the financial return on our investment.”
According to the news release, AXT107 inhibits pro-angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) and activates the vessel stabilizing receptor tyrosine kinase (Tie2), the two validated pathways for the treatment of retinal vascular diseases. Both pathways are mediated by the interaction of AXT107 with integrin αvβ3 and integrin α5β1. AXT107 is presented as a microparticulate suspension suitable for intraocular injection.
Moreover, the company noted the Tie2 effects of AXT107 complement those of the anti-VEGF action, potentially offering greater improvement in vision gains as well as reduction of vascular permeability and suppression of inflammation. Due to its inherent low aqueous solubility,
The company noted that AXT107, when administered intraocularly, can potentially provide substantial durability, which could dramatically reduce the treatment burden associated with current standard of care. The intraocular injection of AXT107 microparticulate suspension will be explored in the DISCOVER study, an open label, single injection, dose escalating, 40-week, phase 1/2a clinical study in patients with wet AMD aiming to evaluate safety, tolerability, bioactivity and duration of action across three dose levels of AXT107.