Jerusalem, Israel — BioCancell Therapeutics, Inc. (TASE:BICL) today announced the receipt of a $3.65 million investment from Tikcro Technologies Ltd, Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd, and the Provident Fund of the Employees of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ltd. One fifth of the investment was in equity (1,222,780 shares at a price of $0.60 each), while four fifths was for a 4-year bond, convertible to up to 5,058,002 shares at a price of $0.72 each. In addition, the investors received warrants to purchase up to 6,280,783 shares, at an exercise price of $0.72 each.
This investment serves as a vote of confidence in the Company, its products, managers and employees, at a time of uncertainty and instability in the world economy as a whole.
BioCancell also announced today the addition of Mr. Aviv Boim to its Board of Directors.
Mr. Boim is the Chief Executive Officer of Tikcro Technologies, Ltd., which he joined from Orckit Communications Ltd., where he held the position of Chief Financial Officer for nearly ten years. Prior to joining Orckit, Mr. Boim was a banker with BT Alex. Brown Incorporated, an investment banking firm. He holds a B.A. and an M.A. in economics and management from Tel Aviv University and an L.L.B. from Tel Aviv University Law School.
BioCancell’s Technology – Patient-Oriented, Targeted Therapy
BioCancell’s technology is both Personal and Targeted. The approach is based on the identification of particular genes that are highly expressed only in tumors (“Target Genes”). The regulatory sequences of these Target Genes are used to drive the expression of a toxin gene exclusively within tumor cells, enabling targeted tumor-cell destruction, leaving normal cells intact. In effect, the plasmid acts as “smart bombs”, activated only inside their targets thus destroying only the cancerous cells, while leaving healthy cells intact.
The patient’s eligibility for the treatment is determined by analyzing the patient’s tumor for the expression of the specific Target Genes. The diagnosis of the expression of the Target Genes are, therefore, a prerequisite for treatment and is made possible through the Company’s proprietary diagnostic technology that enables detection of even a single malignant cell. Only those patients with high expression levels of the Target Genes in their tumor are eligible for treatment with high confidence of success.
The Company has designated two genes as Target Genes – H19 and IGF2.
Discovered by Professor Avraham Hochberg in humans, H19 is an oncofetal gene that encodes RNA (with no protein product) that is expressed at high levels in over 30 types of human cancer tissues, while existing at a nearly undetectable level in the surrounding normal tissues, thus making it an optimal weapon in the fight against cancer.
The gene is expressed abundantly in the human placenta and in several embryonic tissues, but is repressed post-natally and only re-expressed with the appearance of cancer, within cancer cells. Studies show that H19 fulfills an important role in the process of tumorigenesis, and it is thought that the gene enables tumor cells to survive and proliferate under stress conditions.
BioCancell Therapeutics Inc. is a biopharmaceuticals corporation specializing in the development of Patient-Oriented, Targeted Therapy for the treatment of numerous types of cancer. The Company’s proprietary technology constitutes a novel paradigm for the targeted destruction of cancer cells, with no effect on normal surrounding tissue and no observed side effects, allowing for long-term, safe treatment and prevention of cancer.
BioCancell was co-founded in 2004 by Professor Avraham Hochberg, Professor of Molecular Biology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, based on technology developed by him over the past 15 years.
Between 2006-2008, BioCancell has successfully completed private rounds of funding and an initial public offering totalling $12.5 million. Its securities are traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, with the major stockholders being Clal Biotechnology Industries, a member of the IDB group of companies, and Prof. Hochberg.
This press release contains “forward-looking” statements, including statements with respect to the further development and potential safety and efficacy of BC-819, in the treatment of superficial bladder cancer and BioCancell’s development strategy. Any statements contained in this press release that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. There are a number of important factors that could cause the results of BioCancell to differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements, including, among others, the risk that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may require changes to the protocols and informed consents for clinical trials of BC-819, which changes may have a material adverse effect on the timing of, and BioCancell’s ability to conduct, those clinical trials, risks related to the clinical advancement of its BC-819 plasmid, including, but not limited, to the risk that clinical trials for this product candidate may not demonstrate safety and efficacy sufficient to obtain the requisite regulatory approvals or to result in a marketable product and risks related to the potential for others to develop products containing or based on BC-819. BioCancell does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements.
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