Xigen Raises $20 Million

Xigen, a Swiss developer of therapeutic peptides, has raised $20 million in Series B funding from return backer Tilocor Life Science.

PRESS RELEASE
Xigen, a Swiss biopharmaceutical company developing innovative cell-penetrating peptides with high stability and specificity for a broad range of therapeutic indications, announced today the completion earlier this year of a Series B financing round in which it raised USD 20 million (CHF 20 million) from existing investor Tilocor Life Science. This round of financing allowed Xigen to successfully complete a first-in-human Phase I study of its lead peptide drug candidate XG-102 administered intravenously. The funds will also enable the company to further clinical development of XG-102 in target indications in the field of inflammation, as well as advance the development of several other drug candidates derived from its proprietary pipeline.

XG-102 is a highly selective, non-ATP competitive peptide-based inhibitor of c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), an intracellular therapeutic target considered a pivotal player in the development of many diseases with unmet medical needs and proven commercial value. XG-102 has demonstrated similar or superior efficacy to industry recognised benchmarks in a battery of preclinical models for major inflammatory indications.

Dr. Christophe Bonny, CEO and co-founder of Xigen, commented, “This initial demonstration that Xigen’s cell-penetrating peptide-based drug technology is safe and well tolerated via intravenous administration is an important step in the validation of this therapeutic approach. It opens unprecedented opportunities to reach intracellular proteins considered therapeutic targets in the fields of inflammation, CNS, oncology and virology. The financial support from Tilocor has brought us to this stage and will allow us to pursue the development of our other innovative therapeutics.”

Professor Stefan Catsicas, Chairman of Tilocor International, added, “Tilocor invests in scientific excellence applied towards the improvement of human health. We are confident that Xigen has the expertise to bring forward a new class of truly innovative and well tolerated drugs.” Professor Catsicas also serves as Chairman of Xigen’s Board of Directors.

The completed exploratory Phase I clinical trial was the first time XG-102 had been administered intravenously in humans. The placebo-controlled study involved ten patients who had sustained either a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA). The treatment was well tolerated, with no adverse events reported related to the treatment.

The recent Series B financing round will allow Xigen to conduct further clinical studies with XG-102 to demonstrate efficacy following systemic administration, a prerequisite for addressing important inflammatory conditions. XG-102 is already in Phase II clinical trials for the treatment via local administration of sensorineural hearing loss with development partner Auris Medical, with results expected in 2010.

Xigen is actively seeking industry partners for XG-102, as well as for several other promising peptide drug candidates in its growing pipeline.

About Xigen

Xigen SA is a private Swiss biopharmaceutical company developing innovative therapeutic peptides for a broad range of diseases with underserved medical needs and proven commercial value, with a focus on inflammation. Xigen’s technology platform enables the design and synthesis of cell-penetrating peptides with enhanced metabolic stability, using proprietary carrier motifs to selectively deliver them to intracellular targets implicated in diseases in the fields of inflammation, CNS, oncology and virology. The company’s lead compound, XG-102, is a highly selective, non-ATP competitive inhibitor of JNK, a therapeutic target considered a pivotal player in the development of many diseases, and is currently in clinical development for indications in the field of inflammation. Xigen is actively seeking industry partners to further the development of XG-102 and several other promising peptide-based drug candidates in its growing product pipeline.

Xigen was founded in 2002 as a spin-off from the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) in Switzerland. Dr. Christophe Bonny, CEO and co-founder, is a renowned molecular biologist with over a decade’s research expertise on intracellular peptides and signalling. The company’s operations were boosted after obtaining CHF 26 million in a Series A financing round in 2005. Xigen raised a further CHF 20 million in a Series B round in 2009. The company currently has 20 employees. More information is available at www.xigenpharma.com.

About Tilocor

The Tilocor Group has established a small group of innovation-driven companies, working synergistically to better understand unmet medical needs and the new technologies that can be used to address them. Co-founded by Professor Stefan Catsicas, former Vice-President of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Lausanne), the Tilocor Group promotes an entrepreneurial approach adapted to the long-term needs of the life science sector. Currently, Tilocor companies focus on inflammation, infectious diseases and cancer with specific therapeutic agents that include intracellular peptides, human antibodies and small chemical entities. Tilocor Life Science provides financial support and services for the Group’s newly created companies, acquisitions and investments. More information is available at www.tilocor.com

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