Results from a phase II study over summer showed that palliative stage lung cancer patients could expect to see improvements in quality of life as well as improved survival prospects.
The first dosing of patients in the phase III trial is expected next year, and ValiRx said external partners would have “substantial input into the trial design”.
A first peer-reviewed article assessing clinical trial results for its cancer drug VAL401 has also been prepared.
Data from the phase II study, completed last year in Tbilisi, Georgia, will be carried in the European Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, the company said in December.
The report is intended to be the first in a series of results-based publications on the treatment, said Dr Suzy Dilly, chief executive of ValiSeek, the joint-venture company developing VAL401.
“Peer-reviewed publications are always interesting to complete, as the article is very much shaped and expanded by the anonymous expert reviewers, providing a respected validation of the data," she added.
VAL401 is a new formulation of the antipsychotic drug risperidone, which researchers have transformed into a potential oncology treatment.
Alongside news of the peer review, Valirx raised £500,000 issuing shares at 0.75p each. The proceeds will be used to “further expand the scope” of the clinical trial of VAL201, which is being developed to treat prostate cancer.
By doing this it hopes the drug candidate will “more speedily reach its full therapeutic potential and potential anti-cancer impact”.
The cash injection will also be used to progress the development of the pre-clinical programmes VAL301 and VAL101.
VAL201 next in queue
As for VAL201, the company’s other clinical-stage compound, that has “performed extremely well” in its phase I/II prostate cancer trial so far.
“Beyond it being well tolerated and safe, it is efficacious and works,” said ValiRx.
Recruitment is underway for the second part of that study, which will see patients receive a higher dosage of the drug.
Couple of other compounds, too
In late preclinical development is VAL301, a reformulation of VAL201 which is being developed to treat endometriosis.
Final lab tests are underway before moving the compound into additional toxicology trials and eventually into clinical studies.
ValiRx has also created a second generation VAL101 molecule, which it hopes will be able to shut down rebellious genes which cause cancer and, possibly, some neurological disorders. Preparation is underway for its entry into the clinic.
From a financial perspective, ValiRx recorded a loss before tax rose 4.8% to £2.16mln (H1 17: £2.05mln) in the six months ended June 30 2018.
At the end of June, the company had cash resources of £591,000 (H1 17: £383,000) thanks to a £0.95mln fundraise in May. Post period end, ValiRx raised another £1.15mln, while it also received just shy of £0.5mln in R&D tax credits in September.