News

AbilityPharma rises € 3.5 million in a financing round to complete the current oncologic phase 2 clinical trial and license ABTL0812 to an international pharmaceutical company

September 12, 2019

The executive team is reinforced by the incorporation of Maribel Berges as CEO, promoting Carles Domènech to the Executive Presidency
 
BARCELONA - September 12, 2019 - The biopharmaceutical company Ability Pharmaceuticals SL announced today the closing of a financing round of 3.5 million euros. The funds will allow the company to complete the phase 2 clinical trial currently ongoing in endometrial cancer and lung cancer in Spain and France and reach a licensing agreement with a pharmaceutical company to continue the development and future commercialization of the drug.
 
The financing round has the participation of the venture capital fund Inveready Biotech III, managed by Inveready Asset Management; the everis Group, through its FiTalent corporate venture fund, and the funds raised through a crowdfunding with Capital Cell.
 
The drug ABTL0812 developed by the company, currently in phase 2, is showing positive results in the ongoing clinical trial in Spain and France with endometrial or squamous lung cancer patients. The interim analysis in endometrial cancer shows superiority to the current treatment, with increases in responses of up to 50%. “These promising results with evaluable patients - said Dr. Carles Domènech, co-founder, Executive President and Scientific Director of AbilityPharma - show a clearly beneficial trend that, if confirmed with the results with all patients, would revolutionize the treatment of endometrial cancer ".
 
In order to strengthen the company's executive team, Ms. Maribel Berges has joined the Company as Chef Executive Officer, with Carles Domènech assuming the executive presidency and the scientific direction. "It is a great pleasure to join AbilityPharma at this key stage of the ABTL0812’s development, with the objective of achieving the strategic objectives of the company and its partners and investors," said Maribel Berges. Maribel Berges has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry and in technology transfer. In recent years, she has developed the financial and business direction at Spherium Biomed, a company of which Berges was co-founder and that was recently acquired by Ferrer.
 
Additionally, after this financing round, two new members will join the board of directors of AbilityPharma: Ms. Sara Secall and Mr. Germán Cutillas, representing the Inveready Biotech III venture capital fund and the FiTalent corporate venture fund, from the everis Group, respectively.
 
"On behalf of the board of directors, I am pleased to welcome Ms. Maribel Berges and Sara Secall and Mr. Germán Cutillas, whose experience will be a valuable addition to the company's progress," said Mr. Luis Sanchez Lafuente, principal shareholder and until now Chairman of the board of directors of AbilityPharma.
 
“AbilityPharma has demonstrated a unique ability to achieve excellent results, with remarkable financial efficiency, through partial licenses and non-dilutive financing instruments. The round achieved reaffirms the support of the Inveready Group to the company and incorporates partners with extensive knowledge who have already co-operated with us in operations such as Palo Biofarma or Oncostellae. At the same time, at this key moment, we reinforce the team with the objective of achieving the intended objectives,” says Roger Piqué, General Partner of Inveready.
 
"The new investment in AbilityPharma represents for Inveready the possibility of accompanying a mature company, with good results in an open study in an unattended indication in endometrial cancer, and with the possibility of reaching a medium-term exit for the investor." Sara Secall said.
 
"We are really satisfied with the incorporation of everis, through FiTalent, into the AbilityPharma project, at a time when the first positive clinical results are being obtained, thus helping to achieve their business objectives." Mr. Germán Cutillas, responsible partner of FiTalent
 

About Inveready
 
Inveready is a leading Venture Capital company in the technology investment sector and in early stages in Spain. With more than € 330M under management, Inveready currently has 10 specialized funds in IT (Deep Tech), Biotech and hybrid funds (Venture debt and convertible debt). The company looks for scalable projects with an international vision, where Inveready can contribute with its experience to accelerate the growth of the entrepreneurial team and its business. Its funds have invested, since 2008, in more than 130 companies. Inveready has received several awards from ASCRI, the Spanish Association of Capital, Growth and Investment.
 
About everis/FiTalent
 
FiTalent is the venture capital fund of the everis Group. It bases its strategy on the search for investment opportunities in projects driven by highly committed teams that develop innovative technologies. FiTalent has three strategic lines of action: venture capital, corporate venturing and company builder, each of them with their own investment portfolio.
 
About Ability Pharmaceuticals

Ability Pharmaceuticals (www.abilitypharma.com) is a biopharmaceutical company with a product, ABTL0812 in phase 2 clinical trials, focused on improving the future of oncology by developing innovative therapies that address unmet medical needs. In April 2016, AbilityPharma signed a territorial license agreement for ABTL0812 with SciClone Pharmaceuticals (Hong Kong) Development Co. Limited to develop and market the product in China.
 
Ability Pharmaceuticals is headquartered in Parc Tecnològic del Vallès and Parc de Recerca UAB (Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain). Current shareholders include the biotech venture firms Inveready and SODENA, its founders and private investors, and has the financial support from ACCIO (Government of Catalonia), and CDTI, ENISA and MINECO (Government of Spain).
 
About ABTL0812

ABTL0812 is a first-in-class fully differentiated oral targeted anticancer compound causing cell death by autophagy (self-digestion).

ABTL0812 is currently in phase 2 clinical trials in Europe in patients with endometrial cancer or squamous cell lung cancer, as a first-line treatment in combination with chemotherapy and as a maintenance treatment after the chemotherapy cycles. The study is being conducted in leading cancer hospitals in Spain and France.
This same phase 2 study was also approved by the US FDA in December 2017. In addition, the FDA approved the protocol for a phase 2 study in pancreatic cancer in January 2018.

ABTL0812 has also received Orphan Drug Designations (ODD) for pancreatic cancer, biliary cancer and the pediatric cancer neuroblastoma by the FDA in the USA and by the EMA in Europe.

A phase 1/1b clinical trial was previously conducted (29 patients with advanced solid tumors), in which ABTL0812 showed great safety and tolerability and no dose-limiting toxicities were identified. There were signs of efficacy, and notably two patients had long-term disease stabilizations, for more than one year (14 and 18 months). In addition, ABTL0812 showed activity on biomarkers with dose-response.

The mechanism of action of ABTL0812 is unique and novel. It induces the overexpression of TRIB3 that blocks Akt activation, blocking the Akt/mTORC1 axis of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, and induces Endoplasmic Reticular Stress (ER Stress). The combination of both effects produces cancer cell-death mediated by a robust autophagy. The mechanism of action was published in Clinical Cancer Research in May 2016.

In preclinical cancer models, ABTL0812 is effective as a single agent with an excellent safety profile in a broad spectrum of cancer types, including lung, endometrial and pancreatic cancer, neuroblastoma and glioma. Likewise, it also enhances chemotherapy (taxanes, platinum compounds and gemcitabine) with a synergistic effect without increasing its toxicity.

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