Alacrita worked with the CEO and Chairman of Evgen Ltd, a start-up biotech company, to successfully secure a Series A financing. Alacrita developed a rational development strategy for Evgen’s novel oncology compound, delivered an expert toxicology report and acted as a ‘technical champion’ during investor presentations.

Background – the unmet need

After a seed investment, Evgen had built an IP portfolio in the field of glucosinolates, chemicals found in brassica vegetables, that are potent inducers of cytoprotective enzymes and inhibitors of carcinogenesis. The company was preparing for a Series A financing to support the preclinical and early clinical development of the company’s lead compound and was putting together a business plan to underpin this process.

Clinical Development Strategy

Alacrita was asked to provide a rational development strategy based on the research data accumulated to date. The data suggested that the compound could have efficacy in a broad range of cancer types; the challenge was to identify the indication with the strongest scientific, clinical and commercial rationale. Following desk research, Alacrita worked with two leading oncologists to narrow the number of indications to two. Alacrita then conducted a deep analysis of these selected indications to develop a clinical strategy that would generate value-creating data in a 1-2 year timeframe. This involved an assessment of the cancer biology, selection of target patient population, review of clinical and non-clinical endpoints and determination of the effect required to be clinically relevant.

Clinical Development Costings

Having received buy-in for this clinical strategy from the client’s board, Alacrita deployed an activity-based model to accurately forecast the time and costs required to execute the development programme. The model calculated the overall cost of setting up the trial, recruiting patients, completing the clinical visits, monitoring, data collection, data entry into relevant databases, statistical analysis and clinical report production. Alacrita provided costings for a number of different development scenarios.

Literature Review and Expert Report

To further strengthen the investment proposition, Evgen commissioned Alacrita to conduct a literature review and write an expert report based on the underlying science. This report summarised  the literature (epidemiology, mechanistic research, preclinical work, clinical work to date), set out what additional toxicology and preclinical efficacy studies would be required by regulatory authorities prior to starting clinical trials and provided best estimate costings for such work.

Securing the Investment

Throughout the investment process, Alacrita provided ongoing advice, including joining the CEO at investor presentations to provide technical support. In 3Q11 the company announced the first closing of the investment, with a second round due towards the end of that year.

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