Chairman, CEO, CFO: Dr. Glynn Wilson
WSA: Good day from Wall Street. This is Juan Costello, Senior Analyst with the Wall Street Analyzer. Joining us today is Dr. Glynn Wilson, the CEO and Chairman of TapImmune, Incorporated. The company trades on the OTCQB, ticker symbol TPIV. Thanks for joining us today, Dr. Wilson.
Glynn Wilson: Thanks, pleasure to be here.
WSA: Great. Now starting off, please give us a history and overview of the company for some of our listeners new to your story.
Glynn Wilson: Sure. TapImmune is an immunotherapy company, which means that we are stimulating the body cells’ immune system to fight cancer. In particular, we are stimulating the T-cell system, the part of the immune system which can recognize and kill foreign cells. And we have a pretty comprehensive, broad approach to do that. We have completed two Phase I clinical trials, one in HER2/neu breast cancer and the other in ovarian and breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer. And those have been very successful and we are now at the exciting stage of moving on to Phase II.
WSA: Great. And bring us up to speed there on some of your recent news including your recent study and some other key milestones?
Glynn Wilson: Yeah, recent news I think has covered pretty much three fronts on the clinical side, the financing side, and some new appointments, new people to the company. On the clinical side, we’ve released the results of phase I showing that in both programs the vaccines were safe. And more importantly, that in the vast majority of patients, 19 out of 20 in one case and the other case, 20 out of 21, showed robust immune responses. So they were responding to the vaccine, which gives us lot of confidence moving into phase II. As a result of that, we announced last week we had converted an option for licensing to the full licensing agreement for the folate receptor alpha technology license agreement with the Mayo Clinic. And as part of that, we are transferring the IND to cover those clinical trials for the company’s own clinical trials in the future.
On the financing side, we’ve announced in January and in March the basis for new financing, which included the structure to exercise bonds and that gives us the potential to put in over 30 million in cash into the company. And we are at the point where we’ve just put in another approximately four million and we will be raising more in the foreseeable future with our structure. And so that means we have the capital to get into Phase II. On the people side, we’ve announced two new board members recently. One David Laskow-Pooley who is the CEO of London Pharma and then last week, John Bonfiglio. John is a very successful biotech CEO. So we are really in the process of strengthening the board.
WSA: Great. And what trends are you targeting right now in this sector and how is the company positioned to capitalize?
Glynn Wilson: Well, the whole area of immunotherapy has progressed tremendously over the last four to five years. And there are certainly some interesting trends we believe we can capitalize on. One is the advancement of a new class called checkpoint inhibitors that really take the brakes off the immune system. And one of the challenges in the past with a vaccine approach was you could stimulate immune system but in accounts of situation the immune system was being suppressed. Now we can take the brakes off, it gives an approach like ours a lot more opportunity to be successful. So one of the trends here is to look at not only a standalone therapy for our product, but also a combination therapy and we are actively planning at least one Phase II clinical trial that will do that.
WSA: And what are some of the key factors, Glynn, that you feel make TapImmune unique from some of the other players in the sector?
Glynn Wilson: Well, I think the initial approach of our vaccine, the antigens were discovered in patients. They weren’t discovered in animals and then you have to then see if that translates into activity in humans, which has always been challenging. These were discovered in patients with breast cancer or ovarian cancer that have shown a natural immunity to some antigens. And that’s a starting point and we are also using an approach that broadly stimulates the immune system, that stimulates probably 80% of the T-cells. And I think the results that we are seeing bears out that that is a very fruitful approach and an exciting approach. Also we’ve developed in-house technologies that can improve the expression of antigens on the surface of cells and to improve the signals for these T-cells to recognize. That’s in preclinical development but we are excited about that too. So I think we have two or three unique approaches that differentiate us.
WSA: Perhaps you can walk us through your background experience and talk a little bit about the management team?
Glynn Wilson: Sure. My background is, I am a biochemist originally and then spend most of my career in big pharmaceutical companies in Europe and in the US, involved in product development, including a couple of enrolled products. So a broad experience and then I got involved in startup companies such as TapImmune. So I have broad experience in product development and also in business development, corporate development. My colleague John Bonfiglio, who has joined the Board and has been a strategic advisor for us, he is very experienced in running biotech companies, been very successful.
Our Consulting Medical Director, Patrick Yeramian, is not only very experienced in the clinical setting both in big pharmaceutical companies and in small companies, including filing of over 50 INDs, but he has also put together a great manufacturing and regulatory team. So I think we have – and my colleague in Seattle, Bob Florkiewicz, has got a great research background and also is a registered patent agent. So we have a broad base of skills and top class people that will allow us to accomplish what we want to do.
WSA: And what key goals and milestones are you and your team hoping to accomplish over the course of the next 12 months?
Glynn Wilson: I mean the primary goal is to start off these two programs, starting at the end of this year with the Phase II program on triple negative breast cancer. We are completing the manufacturing, we will transfer the IND, we will be filing for orphan drug status for a couple of our products and so it’s really all about the clinical programs. We will clearly be increasing our people involved with the company to cope with the expanded activities. And so I think we will also see some partnerships evolving between ourselves and other corporate entities to look at combination therapies in particular.
So we are looking at a variety of small proof-of-concept Phase II studies in addition to a large pivotal trial that is using folate receptor technology that’s going through Phase I. So mainly clinical milestones but we will also be looking at expansion of our Board in particular and the hiring of new staff. So I think it’s a very exciting time for us as we are getting to this next phase of our development.
WSA: What do you wish our investors better understood about the company, Dr. Wilson, which if they did could result in a possible higher valuation?
Glynn Wilson: I think it’s really just the fact that we need to get investors to understand where this company has come to, in terms of the company that has two successful Phase I products in great areas, a huge market, great clinical need, moving in Phase II. We are making – we are working hard to get the investors to understand the data that we have, the clinical data, through our presence with meetings, publications, peer-reviewed publications. And we had presence recently at the meetings such as ASCO and will be involved in a number of other clinical council meetings in the next six months or so.
I think part of the issue, of course, has been a lot of the fundamental biotech investors, you know, will not look at companies on the OTC bulletin board. And so we’ve had to try and reach those investors and I think our message is starting to resonate now as people understand the clinical progress we are starting to make and the enormous potential that we have. So I think it’s just a matter of us more effectively communicating where we are to a broader number of investors.
WSA: Certainly. Once again, joining us today is Dr. Glynn Wilson, CEO and Chairman of TapImmune Incorporated, which trades on the OTCQB, ticker symbol TPIV, currently trading at $0.50 a share, market capital is around 19 million. And before we conclude here, Glynn, to recap some of your key points, why do you believe investors should consider the company as a good investment opportunity today?
Glynn Wilson: Well, I think you just said it. 19 million, it’s probably a little over 20, but compared to other companies in the same space, I think we are greatly undervalued by any criteria that you use. The company that has the breadth of technology that we have, going into Phase II clinical studies with good results in Phase I in terms of immune responses, I think we are greatly undervalued and I think that’s the reason for people to look at us seriously and to look at investment.
WSA: Well, we certainly look forward to continuing to track the company’s growth and report on your upcoming progress. We would like to thank you for taking the time to join us today, Glynn, and update our investor audience on TapImmune. It was great to have you on.
Glynn Wilson: Thanks a lot, my pleasure.