* Nanobiotix uses nanoparticles to enhance impact of x-rays
* Aims to bring technology to EU market in 2016
* Seeks partner in USA to develop drug there too
* Needs to raise cash before September to keep going
By Natalie Huet
PARIS, Feb 14 French nanomedicine firm
Nanobiotix is searching for a partner in the United
States and plans to raise fresh capital this year to bring to
market its cancer-killing technology, its chief executive said
The Paris-listed company needs the support and cash to
continue developing its NanoXray product, which it says
increases the precision and impact of radiotherapy to better
It hopes to sell this in Europe in two years' time.
"Finding a partner in the United States has become a
priority for us," CEO Laurent Levy told Reuters in an interview,
adding that Nanobiotix had so far been in talks with about 20
pharmaceutical companies there.
A majority of cancer patients have to undergo radiotherapy
at some stage of their illness, but many cannot be given the
dose of x-rays needed to destroy their tumours because it would
cause too much collateral damage to healthy cells.
Nanobiotix proposes a single, non-toxic injection of
nanoparticles of hafnium oxide into tumours before radiotherapy.
The nanoparticles accumulate within the tumour and increase the
effect of radiation on cancer cells nine-fold while maintaining
a standard dose on nearby healthy tissues.
"All you have to do is add the product and it makes
radiotherapy more efficient. We wanted it to easily fit into
existing medical practices," said Levy, who hopes hospitals and
radiotherapists will embrace its simplicity.
SHARES RISE AND FALL
Nanobiotix thinks this technology could help about 2 million
patients worldwide better fight cancer and open a market worth
close to 5 billion euros ($6.8 billion).
The value of Nanobiotix shares tripled this week after the
company said encouraging trials and feedback from independent
experts meant it now expected to bring its technology to market
in Europe in 2016, one year earlier than initially planned.
The shares shed 30 percent on Friday on news of the upcoming
capital hike. They closed at 18 euros, giving the company a
market capitalisation of about 193 million euros.
Nanobiotix raised 14.2 million euros when it was listed at 6
euros in October 2012. Levy declined to say how much it hoped to
raise this time around, or when that might be, but said existing
funds enabled it to function until next September.
For now, Nanobiotix is actively seeking to partner with a
"medium-sized pharmaceutical company" in the United States to
develop and ultimately license its products there.
The company has said NanoXray has successfully been tested
in patients with soft tissue sarcoma - a rare type of cancer
that affects soft tissues such as fat, muscle or nerves - and is
now being tested in patients with head and neck cancers.
Nanobiotix also hopes to be able to register the product for