Breakthrough Prize given to Antisense pioneer
Last week, biopharmaceutical drug discovery and development company, Antisense Therapeutics (ASX:ANP) spiked 217% in one day. ANP has two drug candidates, ATL1102 and ATL1103, which it has been studying in clinical trials for use in three diseases: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) (ATL1102) and acromegaly (ATL1103).
ANP is garnering plenty of attention at the moment, not least for its Phase II clinical trial with its flagship drug to treat DMD at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
On the Thursday (17 October), Forbes published an article about two winners of The Breakthrough Prizes, referred to as the ‘Oscars of Science’. Head of research at Ionis Pharmaceuticals, C. Frank Bennett, and his colleague Adrian R. Krainer will share a $3 million Breakthrough Prize for their role in developing Spinraza, a drug for spinal muscular atrophy which was invented by Ionis.
The link to ANP is the fact that the small cap has a worldwide exclusive license from Ionis for their IP on ATL1102 — and Bennett is actually the first named inventor on the original ATL1102 patents.
Ergo, one of the brains behind ANP’s ATL1102 drug candidate is the same man behind the ground-breaking Spinraza drug. Bennett also previously served as non-executive director on ANP’s board.
According to the Forbes report, Bennett joined Ionis three decades ago, when the company’s founder was leaving big pharma to start a smaller biotechnology firm to focus on a technology called antisense.
Antisense technology — which is the focus for Antisense Therapeutics/ ANP — works by using “a strand of nucleotides, the type of chemical in DNA” to stop the functioning of particular genes.
In the clinical trials that led to the approval of Ionis’ drug, Spinraza, 50% of the infants treated with Spinraza reached a ‘major motor milestone’. The drug was also shown to improve motor function in later-onset forms of spinal muscular atrophy.
ANP clinical trials underway
In May, ANP completed a $5 million capital raising, with the backing of two major institutional investors, Australian Ethical Investment and Platinum Asset Management for its all-important Phase II clinical trial of ATL1102 in DMD patients.
The six-month dosing trial of ATL1102 in nine non-ambulant DMD patients aged 10-18 years is now underway at the neuromuscular centre of the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.
ATL1102 inhibits the expression of protein ‘CD49d’ on certain immune cells (T cells). DMD is more severe and progresses more rapidly in patients who have more T cells with high levels of CD49d. The drug candidate is being developed to treat the inflammation that exacerbates tissue damage and causes fibrosis in DMD patients — a problem which currently can only be managed with corticosteroids.
On being issued a 'speeding ticket’ from the ASX last week, ANP referred to an article published mid last week, which told the small cap’s story to date: ‘ASX Junior’s Flagship Immunomodulatory Drug Could Turn the Tide in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Treatment’.
As of close of market yesterday, ANP’s share price is still sitting at around ~182% higher than it was before Wednesday’s rally.
When the experts at Next Investors have a stock pick, it may pay to listen.
The Next Investors have been investing in ASX small cap stocks for years, with their best small cap picks yielding returns of 1,200%, 1,120%, 900% and 678%.
They have just revealed their hand-picked, FY2021 stock portfolio of high conviction long-term investments.
Click the link below to see what they are currently investing in.
S3 Consortium Pty Ltd (CAR No.433913) is a corporate authorised representative of LeMessurier Securities Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 296877). The information contained in this article is general information only. Any advice is general advice only. Neither your personal objectives, financial situation nor needs have been taken into consideration. Accordingly you should consider how appropriate the advice (if any) is to those objectives, financial situation and needs, before acting on the advice.
Conflict of Interest Notice
S3 Consortium Pty Ltd does and seeks to do business with companies featured in its articles. As a result, investors should be aware that the Firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this article. Investors should consider this article as only a single factor in making any investment decision. The publishers of this article also wish to disclose that they may hold this stock in their portfolios and that any decision to purchase this stock should be done so after the purchaser has made their own inquires as to the validity of any information in this article.
The information contained in this article is current at the finalised date. The information contained in this article is based on sources reasonably considered to be reliable by S3 Consortium Pty Ltd, and available in the public domain. No “insider information” is ever sourced, disclosed or used by S3 Consortium.