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Edmond de Rothschild leads €13m Series B for France’s Poxel

18 Dec 2012

Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners (EdRIP) has led a €13m Series B financing round for Poxel, a French pharmaceutical company that is currently developing a novel agent to treat diabetes.

The round also saw participation from existing investors InnoBio, a fund managed by CDC Entreprises within FSI France Investment programme, and Omnes Capital, which was formerly known as Crédit Agricole Private Equity before being bought out by Coller Capital in March.

A significant part of the funds will be used to confirm efficacy data of Poxel’s lead programme Imeglimin, an anti-diabetic agent.

Imeglimin is the first in a new Tetrahydrotriazine-containing class of oral anti-diabetics, the Glimins, and has already demonstrated efficacy and safety in clinical proof-of-concept trials.

The agent is being developed through phase II trials as a monotherapy and as an add-on therapy to the main anti-diabetic agents, starting with metformin and sitagliptin.

Encouraged by recent positive data from 2 phase II combination trials that showed significant benefit for patients, the company now plans to strengthen Imeglimin’s efficacy profile as a monotherapy treatment in a large six-month trial involving 400 diabetic patients.

Imeglimin has a mitochondrian-based mechanism of action, targeting the respiratory chain.

Through this new mechanism, Imeglimin acts on the three key defects of Type 2 diabetes, inhibiting hepatic gluconeogenesis, increasing muscle glucose uptake and restoring normal insulin secretion.

Poxel said it has further promising anti-diabetic programmes in early development, including a new class of direct AMPK activator.

Poxel was founded as a spin-off of Merck Serono and in 2010 raised €16m through a Series A round.

“There is enormous demand for new therapies to fight Type 2 diabetes,” said Thierry Hercend, MD, PhD and chairman of the board at Poxel.

“The excellent results we have seen in the recent clinical trials lead us to the conclusion that Imeglimin has great potential to be become a new anti-diabetic standard treatment.”

EdRIP partner Raphaël Wisniewski added, “Imeglimin is delivering on all our expectations and proving Poxel as an excellent investment case.

“Only two years after the series A financing round we have received impressive evidence of significant data in Phase II trials.

“This new financing of €13m provides the company with a significant increase in Imeglimin’s value and of course Poxel’s valuation.”

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and typically occurs in adults, but is increasingly seen in children and adolescents.

In Type 2 diabetes, the body is able to produce insulin but it is either not sufficient or the body is not responding to its effects, leading to a build-up of glucose in the blood.

It is a major cause of both cardiovascular and kidney diseases.

The number of people worldwide with Type 2 diabetes is rising rapidly. This rise is associated with economic development, ageing populations, increasing urbanisation, dietary changes, reduced physical activity and changes in other lifestyle patterns.

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that, in 2011, 366 million people around the world had diabetes. This total is expected to rise to 552 million in 2030.

Each year a further seven million people develop diabetes. The current market is dominated by few product classes and significant unmet needs remain for both physicians and patients.

The worldwide pharmaceutical market for Type 2 diabetes, 60 per cent of which is represented by oral anti-diabetics, is expected to nearly double from $26bn in 2011 to $48.8bn in 2021.

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