Australian immunotherapy company Immutep (ASX:IMM) has announced a $60 million capital raise and approval for a phase one clinical trial of its lead investigative candidate as part of a triple combination for the treatment of various forms of solid tumour.
The company said it has received commitments for $60 million via a two-tranche placement of new ordinary shares to professional, institutional and sophisticated investors.
“Never has there been a more exciting time to be the leading LAG-3 biotech, following the recent industry validation of this promising new immune checkpoint. Efti has continued to report compelling results from multiple clinical trials over the last year, including from key patient subgroups in our AIPAC study. Efti will be tested in different late-stage randomised settings which is a key step towards potential commercialisation," said CEO Marc Voigt.
“We are very encouraged to have received such strong support from multiple existing and new institutional investors for this financing. The funds will be used to expand our efti clinical development portfolio into late-stage settings, and significantly strengthening our strategic and business development options. They will also support the manufacturing process to reach commercial status as we advance towards registration.”
The company also announced the approval of a phase one trial of its lead candidate eftilagimod alpha in conjunction with an existing approved standard of care therapy consisting of a chemotherapy agent and an anti-PD-1 therapy.
INSIGHT-003 will be an investigator-initiated trial conducted by the Institute of Clinical Cancer Research IKF at Krankenhaus Nordwest in Frankfurt. The trial will be run as an amendment to the protocol of the ongoing INSIGHT trial as the third arm with Professor Dr Salah-Eddin Al-Batran as lead investigator.
The company said up to 20 patients with various solid tumours will be recruited to participate in the trial. The first patient is expected to be enrolled in the third quarter of the calendar year 2021 with the first interim results expected in 2022.
“Testing efti as part of a triple combination therapy is an important and exciting expansion of our development program. Efti activates the immune system and could bring a significant benefit to multiple approved standard of care therapies and experimental therapies. Together with our other trials, we are building a very robust pool of data to understand how efti can ultimately improve outcomes for cancer patients,” said Mr Voigt.