Sydney, Australia, 16th August 2011
- First product application – a topical therapeutic for non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC)
- Value adding program through clinical validation of Biosceptre’s novel cancer target
- Clinical studies expected to commence in the US at the end of 2012
Biosceptre International Limited has today announced a funding agreement with Silvercrest Investment Holdings Limited for the development of a lead therapeutic, BSCT, for the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), the most commonly occurring cancer indication.
BSCT is a topical treatment. The active ingredient in BSCT ointment is a polyclonal antibody directed towards Biosceptre’s novel proprietary cancer target, nf-P2X7. This target is a non-functional form of P2X7 which is a major cellular receptor responsible for normal cell death (apoptosis). A subtle change renders P2X7 ‘non-functional’ in cancer preventing apoptosis. Biosceptre has a range of products in development capable of specifically detecting nf-P2X7 and inducing cancer cell death without affecting normal healthy cells. In the case of NMSC the BSCT ointment is applied directly to the skin lesion.
Biosceptre’s CEO, Dr Cliff Holloway, said: “BSCT was initially developed as a proof of concept to validate our proprietary therapeutic cancer target, nf-P2X7. However, after reviewing the data, we recognised a significant commercial opportunity.”
Currently available topical treatments for NMSC are not well tolerated resulting in poor patient compliance. Biosceptre believes BSCT offers significant advantages over these therapies and expects to demonstrate this in controlled clinical studies which are expected to commence at the end of 2012.
It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop NMSC at some point in their lives. About 90% of these cancers are associated with exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Surgery is an option to remove these lesions but can be expensive and result in scarring and discomfort, especially with multiple lesions on exposed areas of the body. Topical treatments for NMSC are available but undesirable side effects, such as scarring and irritation, have been widely reported. Nevertheless these products still have annual revenues of over $400 million per annum.
The agreement with Silvercrest allows Biosceptre to draw down up to AU$8 million to take the program through to the end of Phase IIa clinical studies in the US within the next 3 years. Full commercial terms were not disclosed.
Dr. Holloway further commented, “We are delighted that Silvercrest is providing the financial resources that will enable us to take this product through formal clinical evaluation for the benefit of the vast number of patients who are affected by these skin lesions, not just in Australia, but worldwide.”
About Biosceptre: Biosceptre International Limited is dedicated to the discovery and development of a new and novel cancer target and related therapies for the treatment of a broad range of cancer indications. The company’s core platform and Intellectual Property position is based on the discovery of a novel cancer biomarker known as ‘non-functional’ P2X7 (nf-P2X7) which has been identified in over 20 cancer indications tested to date. The company’s core focus is to validate nf-P2X7 as a therapeutic target and develop antibody products for use in proof of concept clinical studies in humans. Biosceptre is an unlisted public company founded in 2001 (Sydney).
About Silvercrest: Silvercrest is a provider of growth equity capital to state-of-the-art medical, biotech, software and food technology companies. Silvercrest is linked to the Creata group of companies and utilises the services of Creata Ventures. Creata Ventures have offices in Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA and investments spread throughout those regions.
Silvercrest is a privately held investment company with significant commitments from its founders who look to partner with outstanding companies to develop services and solutions that address significant unmet needs.
Creata Ventures has an experienced investment team with experience from early stage discovery to late stage product development and launch. It also has extensive operational know how and business development along with expansive international contacts.
Dr. Cliff Holloway
CEO, Biosceptre International
Tel: 02 8115 0900
Mr. Brad Miller
Manager, Finance and Investments, Silvercrest Investment Holdings
Tel: 02 9847 4977