TauRx Pharmaceuticals has received a further equity investment of US$31.5 million from Genting Management (Singapore; GMS), a subsidiary of Genting Berhad. The amount represents the first tranche in a total investment of US$111.8 million by GMS in exchange for a 20 per cent equity stake in TauRx. The completion of the remaining US$80.3 million investment by GMS is expected before the end of 2012.
TauRx commented that the investment would be directed to the conduct of its pivotal global Phase III trials in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) with LMTX, a second-generation tau aggregation inhibitor (TAI) that targets tau tangles and their precursors, dissolving them in order to halt their harmful effects on memory. The drug is the first TAI to be tested in late-stage trials; a Phase II trial in over 300 patients with an earlier version of the drug showed a 90 per cent reduction in the rate of disease progression over two years. The Phase III trials have already started enrolling in the US. The first study in the Phase III programme will involve 833 people with mild-to-moderate AD over 12 months, whilst the second study will include 500 people with mild AD over 18 months. A third smaller study will aim to confirm treatment benefit in frontotemporal dementia in 180 subjects over 12 months. The trials will be conducted in parallel, including sites in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, the Netherlands, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, the US and the UK.
The new investment in TauRx by GMS is the most significant fund-raising event in TauRx' history, and brings the total equity raised to almost US$300 million. GMS will become the largest shareholder of TauRx. The two firms will form a joint venture that will use the Genting Group's network and presence in Asia to focus on healthcare delivery for AD and early cognitive impairment in Asia.