COMPANY IN BRIEF
Phoenix Solutions AS is a Norwegian biotech company spun out from GE Healthcare in 2013, currently developing a technology platform for targeted drug delivery – Acoustic Cluster Therapy (ACT®). ACT® is a unique approach to ultrasound (US) mediated, targeted drug delivery – capable of enhancing significantly the clinical utility of a wide range of therapeutic molecules and nano-drugs for a wide range of clinical indications.
ACT®`s primary mode of action is in defeating the vascular barrier and enhancing extravasation for greater distribution and uptake of a co-administered drug to the targeted tissue, with resulting increased efficacy and/or reduction in toxicity.
ACT® is a physical approach all together and rests on the interaction between US and a unique formulation enabling in situ generation and local deposition microbubbles in targeted tissues. All constituents in the ACT® formulation are chemically and biologically inert; there`s no active biochemistry and no metabolism involved - the technology rests fully on the generation of biomechanical effects in the vascular compartment.
ACT® is generally indicated towards diseases where current clinical practice treats known, localized pathologies (e.g. solid tumours) with medicinal therapy, and where Standard of Care is being limited from an inability to deliver sufficiently high concentrations of drug to the target site without excessive systemic toxicity. Phoenix is currently focusing on the oncology segment, looking in particular at pancreatic, liver, triple negative breast and prostate cancers. Other medicinal segments, such as diseases in the CNS and inflammation are also being explored.
Phoenix has demonstrated very strong proof of concept in a number of preclinical animal models, and plans to enter First in Man clinical trials in 2018, combining ACT® with Standard of Care chemotherapeutics for treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Phoenix and its ACT® technology rests on decades of R&D efforts within ultrasound and microbubbles performed by the former world leading diagnostic company; Nycomed Imaging AS (now GE Healthcare). Having placed Optison™ on the market as the first 2nd generation ultrasound contrast agent (USCA), and with Sonazoid® in their late pipeline, Nycomed started looking for a 3rd generation USCA. In the late 1990`s and early 2000`s the core technology behind ACT® was hence developed, with more than 10 MUSD and 40 man-years going into establishing formulation, manufacturing line, quality control etc. Due to a shift in focus towards other imaging modalities, the diagnostic program was latter put on hold, but in 2012, three core scientists spun out from GE Healthcare to form Phoenix – with an aim to develop ACT® for therapeutic purposes.
In 2013 Phoenix was awarded a 1.8 million € grant from the Research Council of Norway (RCN) and entered a 4-year explorative development program together with strong academic partners at Institute of Cancer Research / Royal Marsden Hospital (UK) and The Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Within this program, new IPR was secured, the ACT® concept was optimised for therapy purposes and very strong pre-clinical Proof of Concept was shown, combining ACT® with a wide range of drug molecules for treatment of a number of oncology indications.
Late 2016 Phoenix did a Series A directed issue, subscribed by a number of Norwegian healthcare angel investors.
Early 2017 Phoenix was awarded another substantial (2.8 million €) grant from RCN, followed by a Series B directed issue to fund a full development program intended to take ACT® into clinical Phase I/IIa trials for treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma in 2018.