SAN DIEGO and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Phoenix Molecular Designs (PhoenixMD), a clinical stage biotechnology company developing precise cancer therapeutics targeting essential kinases, today announced that it has completed its most recent round of seed financing, resulting in a total raised to date of $12M. The primary use of funds continues to be on the preclinical and clinical advancement of its lead product candidate, PMD-026, a proprietary first-in-class orally-available RSK (kinase) inhibitor. PMD-026 is being developed as a platform technology to treat resistant forms of cancer, such as metastatic breast cancer and, more specifically, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
Investors in the financing round included Pallasite Ventures and World Changing Ventures.
“We are proud to help fund the PhoenixMD team in their mission to develop better therapeutic options for women with breast cancer,” said Dr. Christopher Bissonnette, Managing Partner of Pallasite Ventures. “We believe PMD-026 is a promising new approach to treat advanced breast cancer, both as a monotherapy or in combination with chemotherapy. We are looking forward to working with the team and fellow investors to advance this important product into the clinic.”
The company’s Phase 1/1b clinical trial is being conducted at leading medical centers across United States and it will evaluate safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and anti-tumor activity of PMD-026 in patients with metastatic breast cancer as well as a sub-group of women with TNBC. Importantly, this trial will include a College of American Pathologists/Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CAP/CLIA) certified companion diagnostic (CDx) designed to detect RSK2 activation in breast tumors and to then correlate it with response to PMD-026. Activated RSK2 is highly prevalent in breast cancer as it is expressed in approximately 89 percent of primary tumors. It is also detected in metastatic breast cancers, indicating that this drug target is retained in cancer cells that have moved to other parts of the body. The targeting of RSK2 by PMD-026, together with a validated CDx detecting activated RSK2 in tumors, create a distinct precision medicine approach to treating breast cancer.
“As a company in a challenging disease space, we appreciate the vote of confidence from our investors who join us in the pursuit of new medicines for patients with metastatic breast cancer,” said Sandra Dunn, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Phoenix Molecular Designs. “Our seed funding has supported the early development of our lead product candidate, PMD-026, and we are delighted to have opened our Phase 1/1b clinical trial.”
The advancement of PMD-026 in the company’s clinical trial is underscored by their teams’ impressive track record of market success in developing targeted therapies for breast cancer. Previously, this team has brought forward FDA-approved CDK4/6, PARP, ER and PIK3CA oral selective small molecule inhibitors. PhoenixMD looks forward to building upon this momentum in the pursuit of additional treatment options for individuals living with TNBC.
PhoenixMD’s lead candidate, PMD-026, is the first RSK inhibitor being developed for the treatment of TNBC. PMD-026 was precisely designed for TNBC because RSK2 was specifically identified as the key kinase, out of 519 kinases, that drives the growth of this breast cancer subtype. Preclinical data shows the potential for PMD-026 to be effective alone or in combination with conventional chemotherapies. It has the potential to be a platform technology for chemotherapy, hormone therapy and/or immunotherapy sensitization for a wide range of refractory cancers in the future. PMD-026 has begun Phase 1/1b clinical trials in the United States with the first site initiated at the end of October 2019.
About Phoenix Molecular Designs
PhoenixMD is a privately-held clinical stage biopharmaceutical company designing precise cancer therapeutics and companion diagnostics by targeting kinases, a class of highly druggable enzymes to treat a wide range of oncology indications. PhoenixMD is focused on developing first-in-class inhibitors against RSK, an important drug target for cancer, heart disease and inflammation. The company’s leadership team boasts previous expertise in developing FDA-approved and marketed drugs for breast cancer. Due to PhoenixMD’s emerging leadership in kinase inhibition, the company has entered into partnerships with well-recognized government, academic research institutions and patient advocates, including the National Cancer Institute, MD Anderson, Kyushu University (Japan), University of Tuebingen (Germany) and the Susan G. Komen Foundation –San Diego. PhoenixMD has clinical headquarters in San Diego, CA and pre-clinical operations in Vancouver, BC. For more information, visit phoenixmd.ca.