Prima BioMed (NASDAQ:PBMD) (ASX:PRR) CEO: Matt Lehman

primabiomed1Matt photo

Prima BioMed
CEO: Matt Lehman



WSA:  Good day from Wall Street.  This is Juan Costello with the Wall Street Analyst, and joining us today is Matthew Lehman the CEO of Prima BioMed Limited.  The company trades on NASDAQ, their ticker symbol is PBMD, and on the Australian Stock Exchange ticker symbol is PRR.  Thanks for joining us today Matthew.

Matthew Lehman:  Yeah, thanks for having me Juan, it’s a pleasure.

WSA:  Anytime now, starting off please give us a brief history and overview of the company for some of our listeners that are new to your story.

Matthew Lehman:  Yeah sure.  So Prima BioMed, we’re a development stage Biotech company. We’re developing what we call personalized immunocellular therapeutics, but this is a class of actually cancer treatments, based on using your own immune to fight cancer.  This is sort of an emerging class of cancer drugs and you know in the last several years.  We’re now starting to really see some good commercial success as well as clinical trial success for this class of therapy, and we’re fighting at the forefront.  Our lead program, it’s a product called CVac.

This is based on taking the patient’s own white blood cells, and we actually make the treatment and make the product CVac based on the patient’s own white blood cells, and then we re-inject the product over the course of about 48 weeks, six injections over 48 weeks.  This product — we’re in later stage trials of ovarian cancer, trying to treat ovarian cancer, and we’ve actually announced recently, we’ll be starting sort of early stage phase two program, looking at the same products CVac and triple-negative breast cancer, colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer.  So we believe that there are potentially multiple applications with the same product.

Some of the benefits of this type of treatment, this class of treatment, because you know certainly we believe that immunotherapy has demonstrated the potential to improve survival outcomes for patients with cancer, as well as the level of toxicity and the side effects and impact on quality of life for patients, is much, much better than you see with more traditional cancer treatments.  So that’s what’s we’re about at Prima.

WSA:  Certainly and so what about — can you bring us up to speed on the recent canvas trial in Germany?

Matthew Lehman:  Also let me — I mean there has been a few kind of important pieces of news that have come out recently from our side.  I think first we have a phase two trial for CVac.  This is a — yeah the phase two trial in ovarian cancer, we’ve — this trial ends in September of this year, September 2013.  The trial has been accepted for an oral presentation of the European Cancer Congress on October 1st.  So one of our investigators on that trial Dr. Jeffrey Goh, he will actually be presenting the trial results of the phase two trial there in Europe on October 1st.

So that’s pretty exciting for us, it’s a good physical platform for us to be able to present the results of that trial.  And you know based on that opportunity, we’re of course expecting good results from this trial, we have a lot of faith in our program and this product and the ability for it to work.  And based off of that we would expect to see really good validation, good proof of concept from phase two, that helps launch us into some of the later phase trials in ovarian cancer that we’ve already started and are ongoing.

The other kind of piece of news, we’ve talked about and I hinted to earlier is, we have also taken CVac and commenced some early phase two trials — sort of, what you call exploratory trials if you will, to look at the applications of CVac and some additional cancer types.  It’s a very good scientific background and rational, that’s the way CVac is made and the way it works, it could have application on other cancer types.  So we will be starting some exploratory trials in triple-negative breast cancer and colorectal cancer as well as pancreatic cancer.  And you know these are basically also three really unmet medical needs, in the cancer field, and I think you know if we can demonstrate some good activity for CVac with one or more of those exploratory trials that also sets up a nice later phase program for treating those cancer types as well.  So those are probably the most important news facts that have come out most recently from Prima.

WSA:  Yeah, I appreciate the update.  And so what are some other factors that make Prima unique from some of the other players in the sector and able to capitalize on some of the market trends.

Matthew Lehman:  Yeah sure, I mean so certainly I’m — we’re very excited about the products and the potential applications to help cancer patients.  I think what really makes us unique has actually been on the backside of what we’re doing, it’s really the — I would say the manufacturing scale, the technology and the distribution we have and we’ve developed over the last few years.  So you know — I mean the reality is some of the challenge with immune therapy or personalizing — these are more complex products to make than with the more traditional small molecule drugs, and I think we really have a good platform for you know obviously not just doing good clinical trials and having the data being, but also the ability to make a cost effective scalable product that would — in the future be set up, help set up for commercial success.  We’re manufacturing in three continents, Australia, the US and in Germany.  So the real broad ability to distribute, mainly distribute these products in most of the key regions in the world.

WSA:  Certainly, and we were able to interview you guys a few months ago, so perhaps you can walk us through your background and experience there Matthew for some of our viewers that didn’t get the chance to catch the first interview.

Matthew Lehman:  Yeah, so I mean my personal background its very much in clinical development.  I’ve been with Prima BioMed now about three and half years and really and I was Chief Operating Officer in Prima BioMed and then I became the CEO 1st of 2012, so going on about a year now.  So I’m very familiar with the development and the plans and the progress..  Before then I was, I actually managed a contract research organization for about 10 years before Prima, designing and implementing and executing clinical trials in Europe, the US.

And so my personal experience is very much the clinical trials — the clinical trials and executing them, regulatory inspections.  So it’s like I’m much more in that clinical science field.

WSA:  And what are some of the goals that you and your team are hoping to accomplish over the course of the first three months and then over the course of the next year?

Matthew Lehman:  Yeah certainly there — over the next couple of months, yeah I mean it’s pretty important data we have coming out October 1st, so what we’re doing is really preparing — you know collecting data and having that in place to be able to be organized and then analyzed in time for our October 1st presentation.  So that obviously is our highest priority for the company.  A little longer term of course is the sort of a later phase ovarian cancer program — the CANVAS trial which is a phase two three trial of CVac and you know behind the phase two data, we would expect to start ramping that trial up quite significantly as well, so the kind of that operational role out of that very large trial, which will have about 800 to 1,000 patients worldwide.

And then also again, say a little like within the next year, you know certainly the planning and the starting of our exploratory phase two program as I mentioned before and there’s three other cancer types.  So we have a lot on our plate, and we’re keeping busy and you know I think there’ll be a lot of exciting news, certainly in the short term with phase two data coming up but also beyond that we have a lot of other activities going on as well.

WSA:  Well good and so as far as investors and the financial community are concerned, do you believe that the Prima BioMed story and your messages as management and CEO Med and from a company’s upside are completely understood and appreciated by them, and if not what are some of the things you wish investors better understood about the company?

Matthew Lehman:  Sure I — look I think to be honest, I think we’re starting — especially in the US, so I think I should also mention I mean the background of the company, it’s an Australian company.  The technology was originally developed in Melbourne Australia, so we’re rather new to the financial community in the US.  Over the last — let’s say six to 12 months, we’ve done a lot to really introduce ourselves put the name out there, and we are really starting to see some of the results of that.  We’re seeing increased volume on NASDAQ in these types of things.

I think there’s a way to go as well, so there’s a lot of people I’d like to talk to and really get the message out to and explain what we’re doing.  It’s pretty exciting and I think it’s a pretty new story, especially in the US and markets.  So I think — I don’t think there’s any — let’s say things that are misunderstood necessarily, but I think just the exposure to the people is probably what we need to be doing more of.

WSA:  Well certainly, and so once again joining us today is Matthew Lehman, the CEO for Prima BioMed Limited, which trades on NASDAQ ticker symbol P-B-M-D as well as on the Australian Stock Exchange ticker symbol P-R-R, trading at 255 a share, the market cap is north of 90 million, and before we conclude here Matt, to recap some of your key points, why do you believe investors should consider the company as a good investment opportunity today?

Matthew Lehman:  Oh yeah sure, I mean I think for no other reason I mean we do have data panelists coming out in the short term, and so I think that’s a very interesting — you know this is a — you know within the next about two and half to three months, there’s real data coming out in clinical trials, and that’s certainly an important catalyst.  And then certainly we’re in a space of some new therapy space which has you know not just our product and our program, but within in the industry, this has really demonstrated a lot of benefit, we’re for this year just a few weeks ago, and therapy was really hot if you will, so you know and I think we’re one of the leaders in the space.  So I think both short term as well as the long term value drivers are really in place.

WSA:  Well we certainly look forward to continuing to track the company’s growth and report on your upcoming progress and I’d like to thank you — we’d like to thank you for taking the time to join us Matt, and update on the rest of our audience on Prima BioMed, it’s always good to have you on.

Matthew Lehman:  Yeah, thanks Juan, it was nice.

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