BioSight, an Israeli pharmaceutical development company has closed a $13 million financing round led by the Mori Arkin’s pharmaceutical investment firm, Arkin Holdings, and the US based venture firm Primera Capital.
Proceeds of the financing will be used to fund a multi-center phase IIb clinical trial with the company’s lead product, Astarabine, for the treatment of AML.
According to the investment terms, Arkin Holdings and Primera Capital will invest $5 million each, and additional $3 million will be invested by existing shareholders including . The investment is made in two steps, the first is immediate and the second is expected in the upcoming year, upon completion of a milestone by the company.
Astarabine is a compound of the chemotherapy drug cytarabine (Ara-C) and the amino acid asparagine. Cytarabine is the first-line treatment for AML and relapsed/refractory Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
The use of cytarabine is accompanied by high toxicity and severe side effects such as cerebellar toxicity and bone marrow suppression. Therefore, despite the effectiveness of cytarabine as an anticancer drug, its toxicity significantly limits its use, especially for older patients and for patients with comorbidities, who constitute a significant percentage of AML patients.
BioSight is currently completing a Phase I/IIa clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Astarabine as a monotherapy for AML and ALL, conducted at Rambam Hospital in Israel under the supervision of Dr. Tsila Zuckerman. The results obtained to date indicate a good safety profile with no significant drug-related side effects, including in 80 and 90 year old patients. Furthermore, Astarabine treatment achieved high response rates in newly diagnosed AML/ALL and secondary AML patients unfit for conventional chemotherapy.
BioSight is in preparations for a multi-center Phase IIb trial in the US, Europe, and Israel.