Last week, Respiratorius released its report for the third quarter of 2020. The company can look back on an eventful period with significant stock gains while waiting for an exit announcement regarding the main candidate VAL001. BioStock has spoken with CEO Johan Drott about the past quarter and what happens next.
In Respiratorius’ report for the third quarter, which was published on Wednesday, the company expectedly reported no revenue with an operating loss of just over 1.6 MSEK. At the same time, the equity/assets ratio was 94 per cent at the end of the quarter.
Furthermore, the company’s share has had a positive journey during the third quarter – from trading around one SEK in June, the price has moved up to be around 3 SEK in October.
High expectations have led to price surge
Possibly it is the market’s response to the operation running according to plan, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Respiratorius has two main candidates in its development portfolio. VAL001 is the project that has come the furthest and is a drug for the treatment of diffuse large-cell B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), a rare and aggressive form of lymph node cancer. The candidate is being prepared for a pivotal phase III study and the strategy is now to focus on finding a partner for the final development stage as well as commercialization and marketing of the product.
In an interview with BioStock in June, CEO Johan Drott emphasized that over 20 pharmaceutical companies have so far shown interest in the project, which can be considered a good rating for the Lund-based company.
Continued work to prepare for phase III
To optimize the conditions for reaching such an agreement, Respiratorius is collaborating with North American life science transaction company Partner International to find a partner so that a phase III study can begin as soon as possible. At the same time, the preparatory work continues, which includes the production of study drugs and preparations for a pharmacokinetic study as well as work on the final study design for regulatory approval of study protocols.
The focus shifts to the next project
Meanwhile, Respiratorius is increasingly focusing its operations on its second main project, the development of RESP9000 for the treatment of COPD and severe asthma. The candidate is backed by good preclinical results and a favourable safety profile and the aim is now set to take the project to clinical development, which would be an important and value-driven milestone for both the project and the company.
BioStock has asked Respiratorius’ CEO Johan Drott for his comment on the past quarter.
Johan, how do you see your Q3 2020?
– I view the development during Q3 positively. The projects are largely running according to plan, and thanks to the successful raising of capital, we have been able to initiate important activities to accelerate development.
The report states that after the end of the quarter you had an advisory meeting with Läkemedelsverket. What was the meeting about and what do you take with you from there?
– The meeting with Läkemedelsverket was a scientific advisory meeting where we wanted advice regarding current data and support for continued planning. Overall, it was a positive meeting providing important support in the planning and further development.
You also write that you have now started recruiting a senior project manager. Can you tell us more about what kind of person you are looking for, what the role is about and what you hope he will bring?
– We are looking for a senior project manager primarily for RESP9000 with experience from having taken a drug candidate from preclinical to clinically developable. Recruitment is an important step in building an organization in the company.
Finally, what are your expectations for the coming quarter?
– I expect the projects VAL001 and RESP9000 to make important progress. With the exception of the short-term absence of external key resources, we have been largely unaffected by the ongoing pandemic and I hope, of course, that it can continue in this way.
– I also hope that the dialogue we have in the exit process of VAL001 will move forward. In the meantime, we will continue to build value and strengthen the project, which will probably strengthen our negotiating position.
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