Ablynx looks for new licesing partner for vobarilizumab, 9 months end profitable

ablynxAblynx ended the first nine months of 2016 with a profit of €10.9 million, compared to 2015 loss of €21.7 million. Among financial highlights that the company has posted on Wednesday, there was raising of €74 million through an oversubscribed private placement of new shares.

The company has had total revenues of €68.9 million, which is an increase of 29% compared with the same period of 2015. However, the company had operating loss of €13.7 million, compared with €13.3 million in 2015.

Ablynx’s nine months net profit of €10.9 million was mainly driven by the accounting treatment of the outstanding convertible bond.

The company finished the 9 months period with cash position of €263.6 million compared to €262.2 at September 30, 2015.

Commenting on Wednesday’s update, Dr Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx, said: “Year-to-date, we have made tremendous progress in our R&D portfolio with excellent results from three clinical studies, the expansion of our Nanobody clinical pipeline with three new partnered Phase I programmes starting, and the progression of wholly-owned and partnered early-stage programmes.

Looking for new licesing partner for vobarilizumab

Moses noted that Ablynx’s lead programme, caplacizumab, was in a good position, and that the company is on track to launch it in Europe in 2018.

“We were of course disappointed that AbbVie decided not to exercise its right to license vobarilizumab after our Phase IIb results in RA but we remain on track to organise the end-of-Phase II regulatory consultations with the FDA and EMA in H1 2017. We have initiated the process to identify a new partner for vobarilizumab in RA to help take this innovative drug candidate through Phase III and into commercialisation.

The CEO said that the recruitment in the Phase II SLE study with vobarilizumab was on track.

“We further strengthened our cash position through an oversubscribed private placement of new shares and agreed a second extension of our ion channel collaboration with Merck & Co,” Moses said.

Financial

Revenues increased 29% to €68.9 million (2015: €53.6 million) mainly driven by milestone payments from Boehringer Ingelheim, and from Merck & Co., Inc. and Novo Nordisk. The operating expenses increased to €82.6 million (2015: €66.9 million), primarily driven by higher R&D expenses. As a result of those two factors, the operating loss was €13.6 million during the first nine months of 2016, compared to €13.3 million in 2015.

The net financial result of €24.5 million primarily relates to the fair value impact of the convertible bond, driven by the lower share price on September 30, 2016 as compared to December 31, 2015.

Following the successful private placement of new shares, raising €71.4 million in net proceeds, the Company had a positive net cash inflow of €27.4 million for the first nine months of 2016 and ended the period with €263.6 million in cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments.

Outlook 

Before year-end, Ablynx expects to start a Phase IIb dose-ranging efficacy study with inhaled ALX-0171 in 180 infants who have been hospitalised as a result of a RSV infection. The results from this study are anticipated in the second half of 2018.

The company reiterates its net cash burn guidance for the full year 2016 of €65-75 million, not including the net proceeds from the private placement of new shares announced on June 1, 2016.

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