DelMar Pharmaceuticals Inc
Chairman and CEO: Jeffrey Bacha
WSA: Good day from Wall Street. This is Juan Costello, Senior Analyst with the Wall Street Analyzer. Joining us today is Jeff Bacha, the CEO and Chairman for DelMar Pharmaceuticals. The company trades on NASDAQ, ticker symbol is DMPI. Thanks for joining us again there, Jeff.
Jeff Bacha: Thanks, Juan. It’s always good to give your audience an update.
WSA: Yeah, certainly. So our last interview was in January of this year. Can you bring us up to speed on some recent developments since we last spoke, including VAL-083 progress?
Jeff Bacha: Right. Well, the first half of the year has really been focused on preparations for an upcoming pivotal Phase III clinical trial with VAL-083 in refractory glioblastoma. That’s been something that we’ve been working towards since we started the company. It’s great to be going into this pivotal trial. We have retained our CRO, filed the protocol with the FDA, and we’re moving full speed toward being able to initiate patient enrollment over the course of the summer. And, of course, we recently completed the financing, which will enable us to do that.
WSA: Certainly. And you also put up some recent earnings, which were in line with your expectations.
Jeff Bacha: Exactly. Our cash burn rate has been pretty consistent with our projections and the progress we are making toward initiating that Phase III clinical trial is on track. And we’ve also continued to expand the research with VAL-083. Looking at new indications, we actually extended our academic collaborations. We’re now also working with Duke University’s Brain Tumor Drug Discovery Group. That’s alongside of our other collaborations with MD Anderson with the University of California and others. So we’re very pleased with the progress that we’ve made. The company is in a good strong financial position to launch into its Phase III clinical trial and continue to expand our work around VAL-083.
WSA: And for some of our listeners that are new to the story, what are some of the trends in your sector that you’re targeting.
Jeff Bacha: Well, our initial focus has been on glioblastoma, which is the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer. I can say that unfortunately, it has been largely left behind by all of the great progress that we’ve made in the field. VAL-083 is a unique molecule. It’s a classic chemotherapy that demonstrates activity against GBM in prior clinical trials of the National Cancer Institute here in the United States. And what we’ve done is really focused on understanding the mechanism, how the drug attacks the tumor and differentiating that from the current standards of care, which unfortunately is only about one in three patients who are responsive. We’ve demonstrated that the resistance mechanisms that cause patients to fail the current standard of care do not affect the activity of VAL-083.
So we can treat patients across the board, newly diagnosed patients, where we can identify those with biomarkers who are going to fail the current therapy and put them on our drug instead. And, of course, our current Phase III clinical trial that we’re about to launch is focused on patients who have failed other therapies so they actually have refractory disease. We’ve also applied the same approach into other indications. So where we were able to understand VAL-083 and how it worked in brain tumors and differentiate, identify a patient initiative, we can serve better than the current therapies there. We’ve done the same thing now with ovarian cancer and lung cancer, so you can expect to see our efforts with VAL-083 expand as we go through the remainder of the year.
WSA: Sure. And what are some of the other main goals and milestones that you’re looking to accomplish over the next six months to a year.
Jeff Bacha: Well, our focus is largely around VAL-083, it’s our lead program, [the main goal] is launching the Phase III clinical trial over the course of the summer. We have a Phase II clinical trial in first recurrent GBM that’s being conducted with MD Anderson and they expect to see us make continued progress with the enrollment in that study. We launched that study in February. And also newly diagnosed glioblastoma for patients that are immediately, after they are diagnosed with the disease, we can identify through biomarkers the patients that are unlikely to respond to the current standard of care and get them on our drug right away. And then moving outside of glioblastoma into other tumor types such as ovarian cancer are things that are all ahead of us as we go through the year. We’re expecting to achieve all the milestones, hit them head on, and hopefully build a lot of value along the way, and certainly, create new opportunities for better patient care.
WSA: Certainly. And what does the collaboration with PRA Health bring to the table?
Jeff Bacha: PRA Health Sciences is the largest CRO contract research organization. And we are a relatively small company, so we have the infrastructure and our team can take a product through Phase II clinical trials. But then we need to access their infrastructure. So either partnering with a major pharmaceutical company or working with somebody like PRA who has the bandwidth and the infrastructure from a clinical and regulatory perspective to take on a 25-center clinical trial that will encompass about 180 patients. That’s an important thing and we’ve been able to maintain a relatively low cash burn rate through these collaborations and by leveraging those with tons of opportunities, we’ll be able to continue to do that as we go into this relatively small 180 patient pivotal Phase III clinical trial.
WSA: And as far as investors and the financial community, Jeff, what are some of your key drivers that you wish they better understood about you guys?
Jeff Bacha: Well, I think we have hit the milestones that we set for ourselves and we’ll continue to do so. And as investors get to know us and see that we’re unlocking value, we are very excited to have people getting involved with us as shareholders. We certainly have been able to raise capital when we needed to both originally on the OTCQB and now on the NASDAQ. We’ve got a great group of institutional shareholders that supported our last round of financing. We’re looking forward to launching the Phase III pivotal clinical trial and expanding our portfolio as we go through the year.
WSA: Great. So, once again, joining us today is Jeff Bacha, the CEO and chairman for DelMar Pharmaceuticals. The company trades as mentioned on NASDAQ, ticker symbol DMPI, currently trading at $2.11 a share, market cap is about $30 million. And before we conclude here, to recap some of your key points, why do you believe investors should consider the company as a good investment opportunity today?
Jeff Bacha: Well, because of the milestones we have ahead of us, because of the de-risked nature of VAL-083. It was studied in prior clinical trials at the National Cancer Institute so we know that there’s evidence of clinical activity in every one of the cancers that we’re focused on. We’ve got a strong balance sheet as we go into the second half of the year, and we’re looking forward to accomplishing some great things for patients.
WSA: Well, we certainly look forward to continue to track the company’s growth and report on your upcoming progress. And we’d like to thank you for taking the time to join us today, Jeff, and update our investor audience on DMPI. It’s always good having you guys on.
Jeff Bacha: Very good. Thank you very much, Juan.