Luxembourg May 8, 2017: Helsinn Investment Fund S.A, a fund focused on early-stage investment opportunities in areas of high unmet patient need, today announces that it has made a $2 million investment in Aadi Bioscience, Inc., U.S., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company led by Dr. Neil Desai.
The investment of $2 million was made by Helsinn Investment Fund as part of a series A financing round totaling $23 million. It will be used to support Aadi in the development of ABI-009, a nanoparticle albumin-bound mTOR inhibitor based on sirolimus (rapamycin). AADi’s goal is to develop this molecule for rare diseases that are driven by mTOR activation or where the available mTOR inhibitors cannot effectively be exploited.
ABI-009 is currently being evaluated in a clinical trial for the treatment of patients with advanced perivascular epithelioid cell tumors (PEComa), an extremely rare form of sarcoma. This trial will form the basis of Aadi’s registration strategy in the US. Aadi is investigating a number of other disease indications in its clinical programs that include pulmonary hypertension, early stage bladder cancer and pediatric cancers.
This investment is one of a series of early-stage investments made by Helsinn Investment Fund. The Fund invests in companies working across a range of areas in healthcare to develop early-stage technologies and commercial solutions that will impact health-related quality of life of patients. Alongside ongoing investments, the Fund will provide scientific and clinical strategy guidance, operational and board support, in order to provide new solutions for patients.
Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, commented: “We have been impressed by Aadi and by Dr. Desai’s work and we believe Aadi is an example of the sort of dynamic, young company that can benefit most from the investment and strategic support which the Helsinn Investment Fund can offer.
“The goal of the Helsinn Investment Fund is to support companies to bring innovation that can help with conditions and disease in areas of high unmet patient need. We have made a number of key strategic investments, of which Aadi is the latest example, and look forward to helping support all of these companies as they move their technologies forward and ultimately benefit patients.”
Dr. Neil Desai, Founder and CEO of Aadi, said: “We believe our unique mTOR inhibitor technology has the potential to unlock solutions for a range of cancers and other indications. We’re delighted to welcome the Helsinn Investment Fund as an investor as we believe they have a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities of early-stage innovation, and we look forward to working with them to take ABI-009 forward through clinical development.”
About Helsinn Investment Fund
The Helsinn Investment Fund is incorporated in Luxembourg and fully owned by the Helsinn Group. The Helsinn Investment Fund is focused on early-stage investment opportunities in areas of high unmet patient need. Backed by 40 years of experience in R&D and commercialization expertise, and guided by Helsinn’s core values of quality, integrity and respect, Helsinn Investment Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients.
The investment fund selects companies with technologies in a range of areas including cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, cancer supportive care, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, and dermatology conditions.
For more information, visit www.helsinninvestmentfund.com
About the Helsinn Group
Helsinn is a privately owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a broad development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland and the US, a representative office in China as well as a product presence in about 90 countries globally.
For more information, please visit www.helsinn.com.
About Aadi and ABI-009
Aadi is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company led by Dr. Neil Desai, an inventor of ABRAXANE®, ABI-009 and the nab® technology platform. Aadi’s lead product is ABI-009, a nanoparticle albumin-bound mTOR inhibitor based on sirolimus or rapamycin, also known as nab-rapamycin. Aadi aims to develop the full potential of the albumin-bound mTOR inhibitor in diseases that are driven by mTOR activation and where the mTOR inhibitors have not or cannot be effectively exploited due to problems of effective drug delivery, safety or effective targeting to the disease site. In a phase 1 study ABI-009 was well tolerated at intravenous doses significantly higher than other mTOR inhibitors and its pharmacokinetic profile, with high Cmax and AUC, is very different from the approved mTOR inhibitors. In animal models, ABI-009 has greater antitumor efficacy than the oral mTOR inhibitors at the same dose. Similar to ABRAXANE®, albumin-bound rapamycin is expected to have high tumor penetration due to mechanisms of albumin uptake in tumors and other areas with tissue remodeling or inflammation. ABI-009 was licensed to Aadi in 2014 by Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG)
ABRAXANE® and nab® are registered trademarks of Celgene Corporation.
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