Aprea secures funding for further development of the anticancer compound APR-246
Stockholm, Sweden – September 9, 2011. Aprea AB today announced that it has secured SEK 20.4m (EUR 2.1m) which will allow the company to complete its planned continuation of its clinical study with APR-246 in patients with hematologic malignancies. The company also announced that Torbjörn Bjerke has been elected as a new member of the board.
The financing round was directed to the current owners. This funding will be applied to advancing the program of Aprea's drug candidate APR-246. The clinical study will be conducted at five Swedish sites and will together with a pre-clinical program and a 3-cyclic toxicology study in dog, provide a good basis for the design of the proof-of-concept clinical study.
APR-246 belongs to a novel class of anticancer compounds shown to induce programmed cell death (apoptosis) through p53, a protein frequently changed in a wide range of tumors. The compound has been tested in a phase I/II clinical trial showing that it is safe at predicted therapeutic plasma levels.
Furthermore, Torbjörn Bjerke, CEO of Karolinska Development, has been elected as a new member of the board of directors.
"We are pleased to welcome Dr. Bjerke to the board," says Wenche Rolfsen, chairman of Aprea AB. "His extensive corporate and development experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries will be a great benefit to the company as we move forward".
For further information, please contact:
Ulf Björklund, CEO
Phone: +46 (0)8 50884504
TO THE EDITORS
Aprea AB is a Swedish biotech company focusing on discovery and development of novel anticancer compounds targeting the tumor suppressor protein p53. Aberrations in p53 are common in many various cancer forms and are associated with increased resistance to standard chemotherapy and thus poor prognosis. Aprea is a Karolinska Development AB (publ) portfolio company. The other main owners are Industrifonden, Östersjöstiftelsen, Praktikerinvest and KD Co-Investment Fund KB.
APR-246 has been developed based on results from researchers at Karolinska Institutet. The researchers have discovered that the substance is more efficacious in cancer cells than normal cells, which indicates that it could produce significantly fewer side effects than conventional cancer treatments. By reactivating the tumor suppressor protein p53 the compound induces the cellular suicide program that eliminates the cancer cells. This has been shown in both in vitro laboratory studies and animal in vivo studies with good results. A unique characteristic of the substance is that it can activate p53 even when the gene is mutated. Cancers with mutated p53 are often more resistant to conventional treatment.