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Bioasis Technologies: A Very BIG Year in Review

Dave Jackson Dave Jackson, Stockhouse
0 Comments| December 18, 2020

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It’s been a very busy, big and ambitious year for Bioasis Technologies Inc. (TSX-V.BTI, OTC:BIOAF, Forum) – a biopharmaceutical company focused on revolutionizing science by transporting therapeutic payloads across the blood-brain barrier and into the brain. And while much has been accomplished by this cutting-edge biotech in 2020, much more exciting news is expected in the pipeline for 2021.

In a relatively short period of time, the Company has generated real shareholder value by developing and commercializing its proprietary brain delivery technology – XB3 – to make life-saving drugs brain-penetrant and deliver those drugs at a therapeutically relevant dose.

In this must-hear end-of-year vodcast, Stockhouse Media’s Dave Jackson was joined by CEO Dr. Deborah Rathjen to talk more about the genesis of the amazing xB3 platform, its long-term investment potential, and all things Bioasis moving forward into 2021.

TRANSCRIPTION BELOW:

SH: Dr. Rathjen, can you update our investor audience and your Bioasis shareholders on any recent company developments, especially in the wake of the Phase Two wave of the COVID-19 pandemic?

DR: First let me say what a pleasure it is to be doing this podcast with you Dave and thank you for the opportunity to update investors on Bioasis. At Bioasis we have an ambitious plan to progress three programs targeting the nexus between lysosomal storage disorders, neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, which are conditions that share a number of important, overlapping biological pathways and genetic connections. These programs are targeting conditions such as Lewy Body Dementia, Frontotemporal dementia and Multiple Sclerosis. For the most part whilst Phase Two of the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed Bioasis to progress its plans, there have been some delays that have impacted R&D progress in ways beyond our control. We will however have three exciting and value accretive R&D milestones coming up in Q1 next year that have been flagged for investors. We are also progressing our business development plans. The near-term R&D milestones are in our xB3-007 program, a new treatment for conditions associated with mutations in the GBA-1 gene - Gaucher’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body Dementia.

Our xB3-004 program for interleukin-1 driven neuroinflammatory conditions including neuropathic pain, certain forms of childhood epilepsy associated with febrile seizures multiple sclerosis and potentially Fabrys disease.

The third program where we anticipate a Q1 data milestone is in our new program focused on the delivery of a protein – called progranulin - across the blood-brain barrier. This product is in development for the treatment of conditions associated with mutations in the GRN gene – conditions such as Frontotemporal dementia and ALS as well as an LSD.

Throughout the course of this year our business discussions have continued through our participation in major industry partnering meetings and conferences – although these are now virtual meeting. I am looking forward to meetings that are now scheduled as part of the Biotech Showcase 2021 Digital in January and BIO CEO Investor conference Digital in February as well.

SH: So, we just met up with yourself and Doctor Mei Mei Tian a short while ago to talk about the Company and the X-B-3 platform. Can you update us on any new happenings since then?

DR: We have recently provided an update at our shareholder meeting that indicated our intention to partner our lead program xB3-001 for the treatment of HER2+ brain metastases earlier than previously planned; this is a molecule with the potential for an estimated $3.7b in revenues per annum if approved …

and we unveiled a new program that targets a protein called Progranulin – for the treatment of ALS and Frontotemporal dementia. Both developments are in-line with the company’s overall strategy – to focus on rare or orphan disease where there are common genetics in a broader patient population that are responsible for the underlying disease biology. And to partner programs to provide technology validation and ensure broad adoption of our BBB drug delivery technology as well as provide non-dilutive financing.

SH: Central nervous system disorders affect as many as 1.5 billion people worldwide and account for an economic burden of more than $2 trillion in the EU and North America combined. Just how effective can the X-B-3 platform be in treating this global health crisis?

DR: One of the remarkable things about our xB3 platform is the diversity of payload that can be rapidly and efficiently carried across the Blood-brain barrier ranging from small molecules to antibodies, siRNA to enzymes. Our preclinical data suggests potential efficacy in treating neuropathic pain, brain tumors and other brain conditions the include neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration symptoms. It is apparent that xB3 may have a huge impact on the burden of CNS diseases.

SH: Can you also give us a progress report on your relationship with Chiesi Global Rare Diseases Group – a strategic alliance around on a group of rare genetic diseases and four enzymes for the treatment of Lysosomal Storage Disorders?

DR: Under the terms of our agreement with Chiesi we are not able to disclose or provide status updates without the approval of Chiesi as I am sure you understand. The agreement with Chiesi Group was certainly a highlight of 2020 for Bioasis. I have described 2020 as a transformational year because it is the year in which the company achieved its most significant licensing transaction to date. This is a deal that propelled Bioasis into a leadership position in new therapies that restore lysosomal function, reduce brain inflammation and offer disease modifying potential for neurodegenerative conditions.



SH: In early November, announced the sale of royalty interest in lysosomal storage disorder enzymes being developed under the Chiesi Group-Bioasis Strategic Alliance to XOMA Corporation. Can you walk us through this deal and what it means for Biosis shareholders and potential investors?

DR: Of course, Dave. This transaction – announced on November 3 - enabled Bioasis to further extend its cash runway and to make the R&D investments that I talked of at the beginning of this interview that are likely to create strong news flow and be value accretive for the company in early 2021. In the deal with XOMA, Bioasis sold certain rights to future milestone and royalty revenue due to the company, associated with the advancement of the enzymes being investigated as potential treatments for four different LSD under Bioasis’ strategic alliance with Chiesi Group. Under the terms of the agreement, in exchange for $1.2m upfront payment, XOMA will receive a low single-digit royalty on the future sales of each of the four Chiesi Group-Bioasis enzymes and an undisclosed share of the up to US$138 million in potential milestones due to Bioasis under its agreement with Chiesi Group. We were pleased to enter into this arrangement with XOMA, which allowed us to very rapidly deploy capital to core areas on R&D in a way which is anticipated to help us secure additional technology validating deals, in particular to the R&D anticipated to deliver important milestones in Q1 next year. Our extended runway, including the anticipated funds of CAD$700K from the exercise of warrants prior to the end of the year, is anticipated to be sufficient to allow Bioasis to achieve these value accretive milestones and secure one or more partnerships with the data generated from the current R&D investments.

SH: The issuance of a US patent relating to the X-B-3 platform technology was very big news back in October. What has this meant for the Company since then?

DR: This patent grant was important to Bioasis because it focuses on LSDs and represents a major milestone for our IP protection around our core assets. Adding to the already granted patents in the US and around the world further strengthens and reinforces our standing around our core technology and all our xB3 programs. The Bioasis business model is based on the strength of these assets and the intellectual property that is protected by our broad patent portfolio.

SH: You recently held your Annual General Meeting. Can you inform your shareholders and our investor audience on your financial highlights?

DR: We recently released our half year financial report, reporting for the 6-month period to 31 August 2020. The numbers tell the story of a company that has significantly reduced its expenses, particularly in G&A, when compared with the same period last year, while significantly increasing revenue. G&A expense was reduced by 32% from the prior year 6-month period due to better fiscal management and there was a 38% reduction in total operating expenses from the prior year 6-month period. There was a 132% increase in net income and earnings per share increased by CAD$0.05. Overall a set of solid numbers.

SH: Finally, can you give us a brief company review of 2020 – not the easiest year for most of us – and what six months to a year down the road looks like for Bioasis? Is there anything coming up investors should be keeping an eye out for?

DR: I believe that 2020 was a year of solid achievement by Bioasis – obviously the agreement with Chiesi Group, the first major licensing transaction by the company for its xB3 technology provided validation of our platform technology as well as a cash infusion. The deal with Chiesi has put us in a leadership position in disease modifying therapies that retore lysosomal function, reduce neuroinflammation, with the potential to have meaningful impact on neurodegeneration in setting where there are no or few treatment options. Investors should keep a keen eye out for R& D milestones in Q1 from the three preclinical programs - Xb3-004, xB3-007 and xB3-progranulin as these are anticipated to be important value inflection point and to drive partnerships. We are also very focused on delivering near-term partnering catalysts.



For more information, visit www.bioasis.us.


FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by Stockhouse Publishing.



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