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Poxel Gets $17.1 Million to Advance Type 2 Diabetes Drug Trial

Poxel SA has raised 13 million euros ($17.1 million) in venture backing, which it plans to use to start a mid-stage clinical trial for its experimental Type 2 diabetes drug.

It’s the second round of financing from the company’s existing investors Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, CDC Enterprises within the FSI France investment program and Omnes Capital, previously known as Credit Agricole Private Equity, the Lyon, France-based biotechnology company said in a statement today.

Imeglimin, its lead compound, is part of a new class of oral anti-diabetics called glimins and targets three organs affected by the disease. Acting on the mitochondrial level, the drug inhibits liver glucose production, increases muscle glucose uptake and restores normal pancreatic insulin secretion. The drug was safe and well-tolerated and showed some benefit when taken with Merck & Co.’s sitagliptin in the most recent trial, the company said Nov. 5.

“The majority of the proceeds will go toward making it a Phase-III ready product,” Thomas Kuhn, Poxel’s chief executive officer, said in a phone interview.

The next trial will test the drug as a stand-alone treatment on 400 patients beginning in early 2013, with data expected a year later, Kuhn said. Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of the disease affecting 366 million people worldwide, according to the International Diabetes Federation. That number is expected to jump to 552 million by 2030, the federation estimates.

Same Investors

Poxel was spun off from Merck Serono, the pharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, in 2009 and has no remaining ties to the German drugmaker. Poxel raised 16 million euros in July 2010 from the same investors.

The company plans to find a partner to conduct late-stage trials of the drug, which may be used in combination with metformin and sitagliptin in patients who no longer respond to the existing treatments, Kuhn said.

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