Last week, Iconovo published its report for the fourth quarter and the result for the full year 2020. The company reported a higher turnover compared with the previous year, which is mainly due to the fact that Iconovo achieved several sub-goals within the customer projects. During the past year, Iconovo also initiated new projects with strong partners.
Iconovo develops complete inhalation products, i.e., both inhalers and associated dry powder formulations. The inhalation products are primarily intended as generics for the treatment of asthma and COPD, but the company also plans to develop innovative inhalation drugs such as inhaled oxytocin and vaccines.
The company has developed four product platforms – ICOres, ICOcap, ICOone and ICOpre – which are linked to five different royalty agreements. According to the year-end report and the previously communicated operational goals, one of the goals for Iconovo is to enter two more royalty agreements in 2021.
One of the better quarters in Iconovo’s history
In 2020, Iconovo kept up a good pace in project deliveries and this was also reflected in the turnover figures. During the fourth quarter, Iconovo had a turnover of SEK 7.7 million, which is the highest quarterly turnover in three years. The sales figures during the fourth quarter stemmed from, among other things, large project deliveries in the customer projects with Amneal and Intas.
For the full year in 2020, Iconovo had a 50 per cent increase in turnover: from SEK 11.7 million in 2019 to SEK 17.8 million in 2020. After having presented these positive figures, Iconovo was able to announce that the company’s CEO Johan Wäborg has bought shares in Iconovo for SEK 1.1 million at the price of SEK 55 per share.
Two new customer agreements
In 2020, Iconovo entered into two new customer agreements, one with BNC Korea and one with Monash University, both of which are expected to create great value for Iconovo. The licensing agreement with BNC Korea applies to the production and sale of generic versions of Novartis’ Ultibro and Seebri in ICOcap in an Asian territory with 2.7 billion inhabitants.
The agreement with Monash University, signed in December 2020, gives Monash a license to commercialise ICOone with inhalable oxytocin. This is a groundbreaking agreement for Iconovo for several reasons according to Johan Wäborg.
The report highlights the sustainability aspect
The project with Monash is Iconovo’s first project in innovative inhaled drugs, i.e., a drug that is not a generic drug.
According to Wäborg, inhalable oxytocin has the potential to save thousands of lives. Every year, 75,000 women die from postpartum haemorrhage, mainly in rural areas in Asia and Africa. In regions that are economically stronger, oxytocin injections are given to prevent the bleeding. However, they require transport and storage in an unbroken cold chain. If Iconovo and Monash succeed in developing an inhalable oxytocin, the problem of cold storage will be solved, all while eliminating the risks of spreading infection and hazardous waste.
Furthermore, Wäborg believes that the project with Monash and Iconovo’s other activities has a strong connection to the UN’s sustainability goals. The company mainly focus on three global goals – Good Health and Well-being, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Climate Action.
Orest Lastow sees potential in ICOone
Iconovo sees an increased interest in projects similar to the one with Monash, i.e., where substances are suitable for administration with the disposable inhaler ICOone. Iconovo’s idea is to use ICOone with inhalable vaccines, as Dr Orest Lastow, CTO and founder of Iconovo, recently communicated in MEDTECH Outlook.
Read Orest Lastows article 2021 – Search for vaccinations without cold storage in MEDTECH Outlook
ICOpre accounts for a large part of the development costs
According to the report, the company’s development costs amounted to SEK 4.85 million in 2020. A relatively large part of the costs stems from the development of ICOpre, Iconovo’s largest investment to date. In 2020, Iconovo reached the goal of developing a functional ICOpre inhaler with several injection-molded parts. Now the goal is to complete the development of ICOpre so that a structured sales process can take off.
We will see the finished version of ICOpre in May when Iconovo presents the inhaler at the Respiratory Drug Delivery congress. After that, Iconovo will develop five powder formulations for ICOpre, which are expected to be fully developed by the end of 2021. The plan is to use the powder formulations to develop generic versions of the products in GSK’s Ellipta portfolio.
High expectations and increased commercial focus in 2021
After a very active fourth quarter, Iconovo is entering the new year with MSEK 8.9 in accounts receivable. At the end of 2020, Iconovo had SEK 61.7 million in cash and is thus well financed for 2021. According to CEO Johan Wäborg’s presentation in connection with the year-end report, much can be expected from Iconovo in 2021. The company is increasing the pace of business development and has set the high goal of entering into two new deals in 2021. To achieve this goal, Iconovo has strengthened the organisation with several key employees and now has 27 employees. The new recruitments will contribute to a broadening of skills, increased capacity in current projects and an increased attractiveness in the eyes of potential customers and projects.
2021 will also be a year in which Iconovo will deliver in several projects, which means that the customer can initiate studies. A bioequivalence study will be initiated in the project with Amneal during Q2, and the results are expected to be presented during Q3. In 2021, Iconovo will also initiate a phase I study in the oxytocin project with Monash University and complete the development work in the projects with BNC Korea and Intas so that they can begin studies in 2022.
Iconovo is now one year closer to the launch of the first products on the market. The goal is to launch the first product, a generic version of Symbicort in ICOres, on the European market by 2023.
The content of BioStock’s news and analyses is independent but the work of BioStock is to a certain degree financed by life science companies. The above article concerns a company from which BioStock has received financing.