Swedish biotech Aprea raises €46m

Will be used to advance the clinical development of its anti-cancer compound APR-246

Aprea, a Swedish clinical-stage biotechnology company developing cancer therapies, has completed a Series B financing round, raising €46m (approximately US$51m).

The Solna-based firm said the funds will be used to advance the clinical development of its lead programme APR-246, an anticancer compound that reactivates the tumour suppressor protein p53. Aprea is completing the Phase Ib part of a Phase Ib/II clinical study in high-grade serous ovarian cancer with APR-246 and plans to initiate the randomised Phase II part of the trial shortly.

Further exploratory trials in other cancer indications, including both solid and hematological tumours, are also planned.

In addition, Aprea will establish a foothold in the US and place a leadership team there since much of its clinical and business development activities will be based on North America.

The international financing syndicate was co-led by Versant Ventures and 5AM Ventures, with participation by Sectoral Asset Management. HealthCap acted as the local lead investor. Aprea's main shareholder is KDev Investments, an investment vehicle owned by Karolinska Development and Rosetta Capital.

The funding enables us to further advance this promising product candidate

'The funding enables us to further advance this promising product candidate not only in its lead indication – ovarian cancer – but to also explore its activity in a wide variety of other tumour types,' said Bernd Seizinger, Executive Chairman of Aprea.

'Approximately 50% of human tumours carry deficient p53, which is often associated with resistance to anticancer drugs and poor survival. So, a compound like APR-246 that specifically works in tumours with mutant p53 has the potential to truly transform the way many types of cancer are treated.'

Guido Magni, Partner at Versant Ventures and designated Aprea Board member, said: 'p53 is one of the most important and intriguing fields of research in oncology, so far elusive to pharmacologic treatment, and we are very pleased to work with the experienced team of Aprea to make APR-246 a drug useful to patients with different types of cancer.'

Companies