AlgoTherapeutix raises €12M to fight against
chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
France-based biotechnology company AlgoTherapeutix has raised €12M in a Series A round led by Bpifrance through its InnoBio 2 fund with co-investor Omnes. The proceeds will be used to fund the clinical development of its lead candidate ATX01 up to clinical proof of concept.
AlgoTherapeutix was founded in 2018 by pharma veterans Stephane Thiroloix and Olivier Bohuon to develop topical treatments for complex pain as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Over the last two years, the company took ATX01 (proprietary topical amitriptyline) from exploratory prototype to final formulation, established its pharmacological profile, conducted a full pre-clinical toxicology package, and scaled-up manufacturing to enable clinical supply production. In parallel, AlgoTx firmed-up ATX01’s development pathway via a pre-IND consultation with the FDA. Last May, the company has also obtained an Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA to explore ATX01’s activity in erythromelalgia, a rare neurovascular condition that primarily affects the feet and less commonly the hands. It is characterized by intense, burning pain, severe redness and increased skin temperature either episodic or almost continuous. Whilst erythromelalgia is deemed to result from vasomotor abnormalities or dysfunction in the normal constriction and dilation of the caliber of certain blood vessels, the pain of erythromelalgia is thought to be associated with sodium channel dysfunction (mainly NaV1.7, NaV1.8, and NaV1.9 neuronal sodium channels).
Topical formulation targeting CIPN
The ATX01 program primarily targets CIPN. Over half of cancer patients treated with chemotherapy develop CIPN and experience sensory symptoms and pain in the hands and feet: loss of sensitivity, tingling, burning, cold and intense pain can persist for months to years after treatment. CIPN can prevent patients from walking or using their hands, thus deeply affecting their quality of life. This pain is found in over two million patients in the US and Europe, a leading cause for modification or interruption of chemotherapy. To this date, no therapeutic approach has offered a satisfactory response for patients and their caregivers, oncologists and pain specialists.Via topical administration of a proprietary high-concentration amitriptyline gel, ATX01 aims to directly reach the damaged nerve fibers in the skin and avoid the systemic side-effects of oral and injectable compounds. Pre-clinical investigation evidenced the anti-nociceptive activity of topical amitriptyline on voltage-gated sodium-channels Nav1.7, Nav1.8 and Nav1.9 and on peripheral sensory nerve fibers Aβ, A∂ and C. With its pre-clinical development complete, ATX01 will enter into Phase I clinical development in early 2021.
Earlier this month, Algo Therapeutix has also made it to Business Worldwide Magazine’s list of Top 20 Innovative Companies to Watch in 2020. The program is a celebration of trailblazing organizations who are changing the game in their respective industries and altering the corporate landscape. From a wide range of sectors, these companies are at the cutting edge of breakthrough technologies, innovation and modernized business structures. Those included in the list have a shared goal of developing revolutionary products and technology that drives scalable business models and disrupts established industries and markets.