Proceeds will be used to fund Phase 2 ELAINE clinical trial, which is currently enrolling, to develop lasofoxifene as a potential precision medicine for metastatic breast cancer patients with ESR1 mutations.
Sermonix Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of female-specific oncology products, today announced the completion of a US$26 million Series A financing. The round was led by the WILD Family Office, which manages the investments of entrepreneur Hans-Peter Wild. Other participants in the financing included experienced biopharmaceutical investors and executives Lodewijk de Vink, Richard DeSchutter and Sermonix Non-Executive Chairman Dr. Anthony Wild, among others.
The Series A proceeds will be used to fund the enrollment and completion of the Phase 2 clinical trial of Sermonix’s lead investigational drug, lasofoxifene. The open-label, randomized, multi-center Evaluation of Lasofoxifene in ESR1 Mutations (ELAINE, NCT03781063) study will assess the activity of oral lasofoxifene versus intramuscular fulvestrant for the treatment of postmenopausal women who have locally advanced or metastatic estrogen receptor-positive (ER+)/HER2- breast cancer with an ESR1 mutation.
“We are delighted that our new investors recognize the significant need for a transformative therapy to help women confront this devastating disease, and lasofoxifene’s promise as a potential precision medicine to accomplish that mission,” said Dr. Anthony Wild. “These funds will allow us to robustly enroll patients into our Phase 2 program, bringing us yet another important step closer to achieving our goals.”
Hans-Peter Wild is a passionate and experienced investor in biopharmaceutical research start-ups and has a life-long track record of corporate value creation, including the building of Wild Flavors into a global enterprise and sale to Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) for US$3 billion in 2014. He is the owner of the Capri Sun® brand of juice drinks. As part of the transaction, Thomas Pfisterer, who heads the Direct Investments activities of the WILD Family Office, will be joining the Sermonix board. Pfisterer previously worked in the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley Bank AG in Frankfurt, Germany, focusing on mergers and acquisitions and capital market transactions in health care. He currently serves on the board of ADC Therapeutics, ImVax, and inSphero.
Sermonix has delivered several recent successes:
- In April, the company added seasoned biopharmaceutical industry experts Richard U. DeSchutter, Michael A. Friedman, M.D. and Stephen Rubino, Ph.D. to its board of directors.
- In May, lasofoxifene was granted Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The designation allows for the expedited development and review of drugs that treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need.
- In June, Sermonix presented data at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, demonstrating that lasofoxifene, in combination with palbociclib, was more effective than the combination of fulvestrant and palbociclib at reducing primary and metastatic tumor growth in a mouse intraductal model.
“We are proud of the Sermonix team’s substantial recent accomplishments in moving the lasofoxifene clinical program forward and will utilize these new funds to continue our momentum,” said Dr. David Portman, Sermonix founder and chief executive officer. “Executing with purpose and clear focus, we will accomplish our ultimate goal of delivering this much needed and well-characterized molecule into the hands of oncologists to treat women who develop endocrine-resistant cancer. Our well-tolerated, targeted treatment option that may enhance quality of life and delay cytotoxic chemotherapy could add greatly to the current armamentarium in this area of significant unmet medical need.”
Treehill Partners acted as exclusive financial advisor to Sermonix on this transaction.
Lasofoxifene is an investigational, nonsteroidal selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), which Sermonix licensed globally from Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: LGND). It has been studied in previous comprehensive Phase 1-3 non-oncology clinical trials in more than 15,000 postmenopausal women worldwide. Lasofoxifene’s bioavailability and activity in mutations of the estrogen receptor could potentially hold promise for patients who have acquired endocrine resistance and ESR1 mutations, a common mutation in the metastatic setting and an area of high unmet medical need. Lasofoxifene’s novel activity in ESR1 mutations was recently discovered and Sermonix enjoys late-expiring patent protection. Lasofoxifene, a potent, oral SERM could, if approved, play a critical role in the targeted precision medicine treatment of advanced ER+ breast cancer.
Sermonix Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of female-specific oncology products. The company was founded in 2014 by David Portman, M.D., a leading clinical researcher and expert in women’s health, menopause and selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) therapy. Sermonix’s lead product is oral lasofoxifene. The Sermonix management team, led by Dr. Portman, has significant experience in all stages of the drug development process. Paul Plourde, M.D., vice president of oncology clinical development, was previously with AstraZeneca, where he was instrumental in the development and approval of tamoxifen, Arimidex® and Faslodex®. Barry Komm, Ph.D., chief scientific officer, was formerly head of the SERM program at Wyeth and Pfizer, playing a key role in the development and approval of bazedoxifene and Duavee®. Elizabeth Attias, M.M.Sc., Sc.D., vice president of business development, has extensive experience in pharmaceutical drug commercialization. Miriam Portman, M.D., Sermonix co-founder, is chief operating officer with expertise in clinical trial budgets, contracts, conduct and regulatory affairs. Larry Hoffman, CPA, Esq., chief financial officer, has decades of financial leadership experience in the healthcare sector. Simon Jenkins, Ph.D., vice president of operations, has over 30 years of experience in global drug development leadership roles at Wyeth and Pfizer across a range of therapeutic areas. Sermonix non-executive chairman of the board is Anthony Wild, Ph.D., former president of both Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals and Warner-Lambert’s Pharmaceutical Division. Learn more at https://sermonixpharma.com/.