Video Round-Up: Biotech Showcase Conference 2019

Biotech Investing

The Biotech Showcase this year took place in San Francisco and gave international and local guests an opportunity to meet.

The Biotech Showcase this year took place in San Francisco from January 7 to 9 and welcomed international and local guests to meet for partnering.

The time of the conference represents one of the busiest times of the year for the biotech industry as it aligns with the JP Morgan Healthcare conference at the same time, also in San Fransisco.

Public and private companies that attended presented information to investors and experts alike at the Biotech Showcase. This year had over 3,600 attendees, over 1,000 investors and over 400 company presentations. Panels and other meetings at the conference also provide the opportunity to hear from experts about the state of the biotech industry.

If you missed the festivities down in San Francisco, we’re here to fill you in with news from CEOs and experts in the industry on what the future holds for the biotech industry.

Jeff Bockman: The State and Future of Immunotherapies

Jeff Bockman with Cello Health BioConsulting moderated the panel “Investing in Next Gen Immunotherapies” at the Biotech Showcase on January 7, 2019. Following the panel, the Investing News Network (INN) caught up with him to find out what his biggest takeaways were.

Bockman told INN he started the panel on a less than positive sentiment, from grasping the issues the immunotherapy industry has had, and where it was expected to be right now — “particularly combination” studies, he said. But, there has been “tremendous clinical success” from the checkpoint inhibitors with chemo, and “key combination approvals such as Anti-PD-1 agent with an Anti-CTLA-4.” Watch the video or check out the article for more information on Bockman’s take on the industry.

FSD Pharma Strengthens Drug Development with GW Executive

In the interview, Raza Bokhari, FSD’s executive co-chairman, explained the company is known for building the largest indoor hydroponic grow facility for medicinal cannabis. Projected top line revenue for 2019 should be over C$20 million and over C$75 million in 2020 for cannabis.

In May 2018, when the company went public, it raised C$53 million in funds and funneled it back into “strategic investments,” Bokhari said. Part of the investments were with SciCann Therapeutics, based in Israel, and has a network of researchers, academic institutions and medical centers. The company also has clinical trials for cannabinoids in the gastrointestinal tract, in both irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. Other indications in development could be the cardiovascular system. This partnership also allows FSD to utilize SciCann’s cannabinoid scientific research platform.

Tenax Therapeutics Working on Phase 2 Trial

Tenax Therapeutics (NASDAQ:TENX) is ready to begin enrolling patients in its pulmonary hypertension clinical trial. Anthony DiTonno, CEO of Tenax, told the Investing News Network about the company’s ongoing trial, the drug and financing. DiTonno said the drug was developed by Orion Pharma in Finland, but is not available in the US. There is also no approved therapy for the indication. Tenax will enroll patients in the Phase 2 trial for pulmonary hypertension this quarter.

Propanc’s Cancer Stem Cell Technology Ready for the Clinic

In the interview above, James Nathanielsz, CEO of Propanc, told INN how the company’s technology works. The company has been developing a cancer drug, PRP, for the last 10 years, which has two pro enzymes that stop the spread of cancer, as shown in preclinical research. Nathanielsz said the immediate focus is to “complete the final stages of manufacturing and enter into human trials with the drug.”

Developing this drug began with how the company discovered the modality of pro enzymes. The enzymes have significant direct effects on cancer stem cells, which take on the traits of a stem cell and become “motile and invasive,” he said. This process is why standard therapies don’t always work and the cancer returns, Nathanielsz added.

Curis to Release Data from Three Programs in 2019

Curis’ (NASDAQ:CRIS) CEO James Dentzer said 2019 will be the year of multiple data readouts for all three of its drug candidates in the clinic. Dentzer told the Investing News Network the company will present the data at a medical conference, if it’s convenient. Otherwise a top-line data release will be Curis’ next option to share the news with investors. Later, investigators on the trial would follow up with more data at a medical conference.

The company’s three drugs in the clinic are fimepinostat, CA-107 and CA-4948. The first targets a gene called MYC, which Dentzer said which helps cancer cell grow, really fast. “We knock that down, both gene and protein to keep the cancer under control,” he noted. Fimepinostat has US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast track designation.

This is the Year for NurOwn’s Stem Cell Phase 3 ALS Development

In the interview above, Dr. Ralph Kern, chief medical and chief operating officer at Brainstorm, explains that his company’s technology, NurOwn, takes patients’ autologous stem cells and converts them into differentiated cells. The cells are then returned to the patient to “repair and regenerate the nervous system,” he said. The process involves a short procedure to derive the cells from the bone marrow of patients, called a bone marrow aspiration.

The company’s lead program for ALS, in Phase 3 development, is its fourth trial for the program. Taking place at six sites in the US, 200 patients will be enrolled with half currently enrolled. The company expects to finish enrollment by the middle of 2019, and top line data should be released in mid-2020.

Kazia Ready to Release Results from Ongoing Trials in 2019

With GDC-0084, a drug from Genentech developed specifically for the disease, Garner believes his company has what it takes to fight this unique brain cancer. Last year, the company received Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA. This is one of two programs in Kazia’s pipeline, with the other being for ovarian cancer. This second drug was developed in collaboration with Yale University and via Australian research. It works on addressing the resistance and recurrence paradigm of the cancer, where other ovarian cancer drugs fall short.

CytoSorbents Aiming to Bring CytoSorb to the US

CytoSorbents (NASDAQ:CTSO) CEO Dr. Phillip Chan says his company has the blended benefits with the risk profile of a medical device company and the upside of a biotechnology company. The company’s biggest focus is bringing its flagship product CytoSorb to the US. A clinical trial, REFRESH 2-AKI, has been initiated to meet this objective. Chan said some people call CytoSorb a “Brita filter for your blood,” but he prefers “a blood purification strategy.”

Don’t forget to follow @INN_LifeScience for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Gabrielle Lakusta, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: FSD Pharma is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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