31 Oct '17
Primer Capital, a Russian biotech-focused VC fund, earlier this year supported the development of a drug candidate by Russian company Hemopharm to help multiple myeloma patients. The investment was to fund preclinical trials.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells. Initially, often no symptoms are noticed; but when advanced, bone pain, bleeding, frequent infections, and anemia may occur. Complications may include amyloidosis. Believed to be incurable, the disease stays with the patient for as long as he lives, and all physicians can do is increase his life expectancy and improve the quality of life. Drugs currently available in the market are known for high toxicity and low efficacy, which necessitates the development of low-toxicity target drugs to boost the patient’s resistance.
Primer Capital believes the new Hemopharm solution will evolve to be such a drug, as no direct competition is known to exist in the global pharmaceutical market. The candidate the fund has invested in is a humanized antibody with purportedly outstanding anti-tumor activity and low toxicity with proven in vivo efficacy.
“We expect preclinical trials to provide ample evidence to the high efficacy of the drug; if so, our fund will readily consider participating in the project’s next funding round to back the clinical trial stage. The effort has the potential to attract a lot of pharmas, and not only in Russia,” Primer Capital Executive Director Elizaveta Rozhdestvenskaya said in a comment on the deal.
Primer Capital invests primarily in pharmaceutical and biotech projects.