Oxurion Nets a Fresh $36 Million, Names New CEO as Candidates Advance in Pipeline

Oxurion NV, the Brussels-based biopharmaceutical company formerly known as ThromboGenics, entered into a capital commitment agreement of up to $36 million (€30 million) with Negma Group, a Paris-based financial institution, as the company’s two lead retina candidates progress through the development pipeline.

Negma Group has committed to subscribe to up to $36 million in equity in tranches over a 12-month period through mandatory convertible bonds at Oxurion’s discretion, the two companies said in a joint news release.

“I am happy that we have been able to agree on this flexible financing agreement, which is under our control and can be exercised at our discretion,” said Patrik De Haes, MD, the former CEO of Oxurion, in a prepared statement. “Access to these funds will allow us to focus on progressing our two exciting novel and differentiated back of the eye drug candidates.”
An Oxurion press spokesman declined a request for an interview.

Change in Leadership
Oxurion also announced on May 17 that Dr. De Haes was stepping down from day-to-day management of the company to become non-executive chairman. In his place, Tom Graney, CFA, has been promoted from chief financial officer to CEO. Graney joined Oxurion as CFO last October and has more than 25 years’ experience in senior finance, strategy, business development, and operational roles.

The company has two molecules under development for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME). THR-149 is a plasma kallikrein inhibitor being developed as a potential new option for DME patients who don’t respond well to anti-VEGF treatments. The agent is in Phase II trials, with results expected in mid-year for the first part of the trial and early 2023 for the second part, Dr. De Haes said last year at the OIS European Innovation Showcase.

The company also expects to initiate by mid-year a Phase II trial with THR-687, a pan-RGD (arginylglycylaspartic acid) integrin inhibitor being developed as a potential first-line therapy for DME patients, he said.

Trial Results
A Phase I, single-injection study of THR-149 evaluating three doses showed the drug to be well-tolerated and safe, with no dose-limiting toxicities, Dr. De Haes said at the showcase. The study also looked at efficacy, including changes to patients’ best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA).

Across all doses, a rapid onset of action in mean BCVA was observed from day 1, with an increase of close to 4 letters, and a 7.5-letter improvement by day 14. “Three months later, we still had 6 letters of improvement from one single injection in those patients,” he said.

The Phase II study, dubbed KALAHARI, is a two-part study recruiting 122 patients with central-involved DME who respond suboptimally to anti-VEGF monotherapy, according to a company press release. The first part will assess three dose levels of the drug to find the optimal one. The second part will compare one dose of THR-149 with aflibercept as a comparator.

A Phase I clinical study of THR-687 found that drug, too, was well-tolerated and safe, with no serious adverse events, the company reported in 2020. The single-injection study evaluating three doses found a close to 5-letter BCVA improvement on day 1 in the highest-dose tested (2.5 mg), Dr. De Haes said at the showcase. By day 14, that had improved to 12 letters. Three months out, there still was a 12.5-letter improvement, he said.

Preclinical activities suggest the drug also holds the potential to improve outcomes for patients with wet age-related macular degeneration and retinal vein occlusion, he said.