Advanced Chemotherapy Technologies has raised money to fund clinical development of its method for delivering gemcitabine directly to tumors. ACT sees the technology as a way to deliver a fatal dose of chemotherapy to tumor cells without causing the side effects associated with systemic administration.
Gemcitabine is a powerful anti-cancer agent that arrests tumor growth by inhibiting DNA synthesis. However, the molecule harms healthy and cancerous cells alike, leading to severe side effects and dose-limiting toxicities that restrict efficacy when it is given systemically.
ACT is working on a delivery system designed to unleash the full power of chemotherapeutic agents. The implant features a chemotherapy port that facilitates the administration of the chosen drug to the tumor microenvironment. An electrode applied to the patient’s back delivers electrical currents to drive the drug into the tumor.
The use of iontophoresis is intended to improve on the results achieved by passive chemotherapy delivery systems. ACT has generated preclinical evidence of the efficaciousness of its drug delivery system, showing it shrank tumors by 40% while systemically treated cancers grew 240%.
Spectrum Financial has invested in ACT to support further development. ACT will use the money to run a clinical trial of ACT-IOP-003, a version of its system that delivers gemcitabine to treat advanced pancreatic cancer patients.
“This funding accelerates our ability to start clinical trials for our lead product in pancreatic tumors, one of the deadliest of all cancers,” ACT CEO Tony Voiers said in a statement. The $2.5 million financing comes months after Khosla Ventures led a $5.5 million series A investment in ACT.