Biotech Prescient Therapeutics (ASX: PTX) has successfully raised $7 million to fund an expanded pipeline of innovative cancer treatments.
The clinical stage oncology company today announced it has received firm commitments from professional and sophisticated investors for the placement of 128.1 million shares priced at $0.055 each to raise over $7 million before costs.
The placement immediately follows a recently completed oversubscribed $6.5 million share purchase plan, bringing the total funds raised to $13.5 million. Following settlement of the placement, Prescient confirmed it will have more than $20.3 million cash on hand.
Prescient chief executive officer and managing director Steven Yatomi-Clarke said the strong response for the placement partly reflected the excess demand for the share purchase plan.
“Both existing and new shareholders have shown that they share Prescient’s enthusiasm for its expanded pipeline of innovative cancer treatments,” he said.
The placement shares are expected to be issued this Friday.
Use of funds
The company has assigned some of the funds for the development of targeted therapies and cell therapy enhancement programs.
“These funds will also be applied towards the development of OmniCAR, a next generation CAR-T platform that aims to significantly broaden CAR-T’s addressable market, while overcoming many limitations of existing CAR-T therapies,” Mr Yatomi-Clarke said.
“These represent tremendous market opportunities. We welcome new shareholders as they join us on our journey to develop innovative and personalised cancer therapies,” he added.
The placement funds will also be used for working capital and to pay the costs of the offer.
CAR-T technology is a type of cellular therapy that reprograms a cancer patient’s immune cells to recognise and destroy cancer.
Mr Yatomi-Clarke joined Small Caps last week in a podcast talking about Prescient’s next-generation CAR-T platform, OmniCAR.
“For the very first time, thanks to this brand new approach (CAR-T therapy) we’re seeing responses that we’ve not yet seen in cancer before that are akin to cures…Some are calling it the beginning of the end which is incredibly exciting to contemplate,” he said.
“The problem with cancer is that it’s mutated at surface just enough to avoid surveillance from the immune system, so the T-cells – the frontline soldiers of the immune system – don’t recognise the cancer anymore.”
Mr Yatomi-Clarke said Prescient’s technology modifies and trains the receptor of the T-cells in a patient’s own immune system so they can detect cancer again.
“We are seeing unparalleled cancer-killing capabilities with this type of therapy that has caused durable remissions in patients that have failed everything else… it’s a remarkably exciting new frontier of cancer [treatment] that we’re in,” he said.
Prescient’s other approach to cancer is targeted therapies and it is developing two drug candidates, PTX-100 and PTX-200.
Mr Yatomi-Clarke described targeted therapies as injectable medicines that “finds the mutations or drivers of the cancer and switches them off – so the things that make it divide in an uncontrolled manner”.
PTX-100 is currently in a pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) basket study of hematological and solid malignancies, focusing on cancers with Ras and RhoA gene mutations. It is believed to be the only RhoA inhibitor in the world in clinical development, according to Prescient.
PTX-200 is a novel PH domain inhibitor that inhibits the Akt tumour survival pathway, which plays a role in the development of breast and ovarian cancers, as well as leukemia. It achieved encouraging results from a Phase 2a study on HER2-negative breast cancer, Phase 1b/2 in relapsed and refractory acute myeloid leukemia and Phase 1b in recurrent or persistent platinum resistant ovarian cancer.
Prescient also recently announced two of its assets are being assessed by the Doherty Institute in Melbourne for antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.