Star Investing spoke with Dr Ross Macdonald, CEO of Cynata Therapeutics (ASX:CYP) to learn more about the business, it successes and future outlook for the company.
Hello and welcome to the Star Investing podcast. We’re here with Dr Ross Macdonald, the CEO of Cynata Therapeutics. Thanks for joining us today Ross.
We’re hoping you can give us a quick introduction to yourself and a bit of background about the Company and some information stem cell technology
Thank you for the opportunity to present today. My background is over 30 years in the pharma and biotech industries mostly in non-exec, pan-exec positions, mostly in business development and licensing and mergers and acquisitions around the world and I’ve got a track record of product development and rationalisation; that’s resulted in many products coming to market that I was directly involved with right since their inception.
In Cynata’s case we are developing a novel cell technology called Cymerus and that uses the body’s own stem cells to treat diseases. The special type of stem cell that we are using and developing are called mesenchymal stem cell.s
Easier for short to call them MSCs. There is an enormous amount of medical interest in technology of MSCs and their potential for use as medical products and that is the are area Cynata is actively engaged in.
And what is it about Cynata’s platform that sets its apart and protects its IP?
An essential part of the development of any therapeutic product is the ability to manufacture at a consistent and robust scale and this is our technology’s competitive advantage.
With living drugs such as cell therapy, this is a challenging issue and ultimately cell therapy products could be out of the reach of average patients unless costs are brought down. Our Cymerus technology enables an economic consistent and robust technology.
And we’re the first company in the world to undertake trials with this type of technology and now we find others also looking and using a similar approach albeit manufacturing different cells but following the same approach we have undertaken.
We protect our IP mostly through patents, and to a large extent these are owned by University of Wisconsin and licensed exclusively to Cynata.
But we also have our own patents during the course of the Company’s activities over the past four or five years and that represents a further element of our IP estate.
And can you tell us some the major milestones the Company achieved last year?
2018 was an enormously important year for us. We completed the first clinical trial of out product, which we call CYP-001, to treat graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD) and this was a major milestone for the Company.
The results of that trial exceeded our expectation with the study meeting all of the clinical end points showing not only that the product was very safe but also very effective treating patients with this devastating condition. The trial paves the way for us to proceed to multiple Phase 2 trials, leapfrogging us into an advanced trial program with multiple Phrase 2 assets.
We are able to take advantage of some fast-track provisions in legislation in Japan which could see the product by 2022 in that market at least and we’re also pursuing fast-track provision.
Such as the US. Importantly in Japan marketing allows us to potentially milestone fees and royalties with our products with our partnership with Fujifilm which also reached the high point in 2018, was meeting our clinical trial point with their involvement
We’ve also made important advances in our medical program in areas such as heart disease. And finally, we’ve welcomed one of the largest investment groups in the world, Fidelity International onto our register. They acquired their position in the Company through a combination of on-market buying and a Placement. And now they’re our largest shareholder at just over 9 percent.
And for the biotech sector more broadly, what do you think is impacting the sector the most and what does Cynata stand to gain from it?
There are a number of important trends. Pharmaceutical products tend to be a visible target for those who pay for that product, for instance government and insurers and as such there is a lot of pressure on the industry to reduce their costs.
Cynata technology is likely to be more cost-effective than competitors. So we are well placed to be in a position where our technology could be a lower-cost alternative.
Another important factor which we’re all aware of is aging population and a result of that is a higher retirement age which governments around the world are dealing with.
So instead of a person being eligible for their pension at 60, they don’t become eligible until 65. And what this means is that workers around the world have to have an improved healthspan as well as having an increased lifespan.
So there are highly relevant to addressing the issues with a ageing population and maintaining people in health fit states until they reach retirement age.
And to wrap it up what exciting milestones can investors expect to see from Cynata in 2019?
As 2018 was a big year, I think 2019 will be an even bigger year with the Company planning to commence three Phase 2 clinical trials. And we’ll also be undertaking Phase 2 for our first host disease, extending the phase 2 trial completed in 2018. And also a new area for the Company which is critical will be CLI.
We will also be progressing our corporate activities, especially our relationship with Fujifilm. And finally we will continue to validate our technology with robust data accumulated from our pre-clinical and also clinical programs
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today Ross, we look forward to seeing what’s to from from Cynata this year.
This content is produced by Star Investing in commercial partnership with Cynata Therapeutics. This content does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.
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