Axelar is a Swedish drug development company developing targeted oral anti-cancer therapies for indications where there are significant unmet medical needs.
GOAL The company aims to develop novel efficacious anti-cancer treatments. Axelar’s lead drug candidate, AXL1717, is in Phase II development for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. By partnering with a pharmaceutical company, Axelar will complete the clinical development program and bring a product to market.
BACKGROUND The company was founded based on research performed at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm and the discovery of a group of compounds that target the IGF-1 receptor signaling pathway without affecting signaling from the closely related insulin receptor. The compound, AXL1717, also possesses other anti-cancer properties.
IPR Axelar’s lead compounds, including AXL1717, are protected by several patents and patent applications. Patents have been granted in the US, Europe and other key territories.
OWNERSHIP The company is owned by the Baltic Sea Foundation, the company’s founders, and a number of small investors.
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common form of lung cancer with over 400,000 new patients diagnosed each year in the industrialized countries alone. It is also among the most deadly of all cancers having a five-year survival rate of just 10-15%.
Surgery and, to some extent, radiotherapy are used as therapy for the very few patients with localized tumors. However, most NSCLC patients present with advanced metastatic disease already at the time of diagnosis. The median survival time with first-line therapy is only around ten months.
Development of Axelar’s drug candidate is focused on the two most common types of NSCLC, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma, which represent approximately two-thirds of all NSCLC cases.