TORONTO, Aug. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - Amorfix Life Sciences, a product development company focused on diagnostics and therapeutics for misfolded protein diseases, today announced its operational and financial results for the three months ended June 30, 2013.
"Through strategic collaborations and partnerships as well as our own internal research efforts, we continue to advance our diagnostics and therapeutic antibody programs", said Dr. Robert Gundel, Amorfix President and Chief Executive Officer. "For example, we recently highlighted the progress we are making with our ALS blood test diagnostic. This is an exciting project that has the potential to significantly change the way ALS is diagnosed and ultimately treated. There is no simple test to diagnose pre-symptomatic, early-stage disease. Current methods are basically a process of elimination of other neurological conditions which can take up to a year to complete. For a disease that has a 3 to 5 year survival time post diagnosis, this is simply unacceptable. Our simple blood test diagnostic offers the hope of early detection of ALS to help manage this devastating disease and may also be very useful as a tool and biomarker to facilitate clinical studies for the development of more effective therapeutics for the treatment of ALS.
"For our lead ovarian cancer program, we plan to capitalize on the unique scientific discovery made by Amorfix scientists showing that exposure of cancer cells to standard chemotherapeutics drugs used to treat cancer causes increased expression of misfolded prion protein on the cell surface of tumors. This means that there are more molecules for our antibody conjugate to bind which translates into better tumor killing. We are now planning to evaluate this potential synergistic effect in animal models of ovarian cancer.
"Finally, we are in business discussions with a number of leading pharmaceutical companies for platform technology deals and partnerships as well as licensing deals for our Alzheimer's disease diagnostic test and our cancer therapeutic antibody projects".
Recent Corporate Highlights
In two tranches, April 4th and April 22nd, 2013, the Company completed a non-brokered private placement (the Offering) pursuant to which a total of 1,250,000 Units were issued for total gross proceeds $325,000 under this Offering.
Each Unit consisted of one common share of Amorfix (Shares) and one common share purchase warrant of Amorfix (Warrants). Each Warrant entitles the holder to purchase one Share at a price of CDN$ 0.50 for a period of 24 months following the closing date of the Offering, subject to earlier expiry in the event (a trigger event) that, following the expiry of the four month hold period, the volume-weighted average price of Amorfix's common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) over a period of twenty consecutive trading days exceeds $1.00. On the occurrence of a trigger event, Amorfix may give notice to holders to accelerate the expiry to a date which is not less than 30 calendar days after such notice is sent to the holders.
On April 9, 2013, Amorfix CSO Dr. Neil Cashman provided an update of the Company's ovarian cancer therapeutic antibody program at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Washington, DC. The presentation was well received by the audience comprised of academic researchers and pharmaceutical industry scientists and executives.
On April 9, 2013 the Company reported the completion of the first in a series of studies with its anti-misfolded prion protein antibody in animal models of ovarian cancer with promising preliminary results on reducing tumor volume. In this initial study, the antibody urease conjugate showed a reduction in median and mean tumor volume as compared to the non-treated group. The Company also announced that it had completed a study that shows that the treatment of cancer cells with chemotherapeutic agents increases the amount of misfolded prion protein at the cell surface, and the subsequent binding of anti-prion protein antibodies while showing no increase in misfolded prion protein on the surface of normal ovarian cells. These important scientific findings are the first of its kind and suggest that a combination of standard chemotherapy drugs with antibodies directed against misfolded protein targets could provide a much more effective therapeutic benefit to cancer patients.
On April 25, 2013, the Company announced that it had signed a collaboration agreement with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for the use of the Company's anti-cancer antibodies in a lung cancer research program. Under the agreement, Apar Pataer, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at MD Anderson will use the Amorfix antibodies to identify misfolded proteins expressed on the surface of various human lung cancer cell lines. In addition, studies will be conducted to identify other potential candidate misfolded protein targets for analysis with the Company's proprietary ProMIS™ discovery technology to identify immunotherapeutic targets for the generation and development of therapeutic antibodies for use in the treatment of lung cancer.
On June 5, 2013, the Company announced that it completed a second series of studies with its lead ovarian cancer antibody in a preclinical ovarian cancer animal model. In this study there was a statistically significant decrease in tumor volume compared to control animals.
The Company recently terminated its agreement with PREVENT for the development of an ALS vaccine and will be seeking an alternative development partner for this technology for completion of preclinical studies and a more rapid advancement into clinical development.
On June 26, 2013 the Company announced that it closed the first tranche of a non-brokered private placement (the Offering) pursuant to which 1.5 units (Units) were issued at a price of CDN$350,000 per unit for gross proceeds of CDN$525,000. The total amount that can be raised under the Offering is $1,400,000.
Each Unit consists of one million common shares of Amorfix (Shares) and one million common share purchase warrants of Amorfix (Warrants). Each Warrant entitles the holder to purchase one Share at a price of CDN$ 0.55 for a period of 24 months following the closing date of the Offering, subject to earlier expiry in the event (a trigger event) that, following the expiry of the four month hold period, the volume-weighted average price of Amorfix's common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) over a period of twenty consecutive trading days exceeds $1.00. On the occurrence of a trigger event, Amorfix may give notice to holders to accelerate the expiry to a date which is not less than 30 calendar days after such notice is sent to the holders.
In connection with the Offering, Amorfix paid $42,000 in finder fees and issued 40,000 finder warrants which have the same terms as the Warrants.
On August 7, 2013, the Company announced the retirement of Meryl Chertoff from the board of directors.
For the three months ended June 30, 2013 the Company reported a net loss from operations of $602,533 ($0.01 per share) compared with a net loss from operations of $599,961 ($0.01 per share) for the three months ended June 30, 2012. Research and development expenses for the three months ended June 30, 2013 were $445,295 compared to $461,840 in the comparable period. The lower expenses were related mostly to savings on employee related expenses and offset by higher stock option compensation. General and administrative expenses for the three months ended June 30, 2013 were $193,199 compared to $140,467 in the comparable period last year. The higher expenses are related to higher salaries expense and higher stock option compensation. For the three months ended June 30, 2013, the cash burn was $654,880 as compared to $682,696 in the comparable period. As at June 30, 2013, the Company had a cash balance of $144,406 and a working capital deficit of $75,121. The Company is actively pursuing a number of financing options and initiatives at this time and anticipates a successful interim solution shortly.
The Company's Fiscal 2014 research priorities, subject to the Company raising additional funds, are to:
- Establish additional collaborations and partnerships for use of the ProMIS™ discovery technology to continue to build a compelling pipeline of novel antibody therapeutics for the treatment of cancer
- Complete the research and development of an ALS diagnostic test and ready for out-license.
- Initiate further studies in animal models of ovarian cancer with anti-PrP antibodies
- Initiate proof of concept studies in animal models of cancer with anti-Fas receptor antibodies
- Complete the validation of a human Alzheimer's disease test to detect aggregated Abeta, a hallmark of the disease, in cerebrospinal fluid
Additional information about the Company, including the MD&A and financial results may be found on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX:AMF) is an early-stage product development company developing therapeutic antibodies and diagnostics targeting misfolded protein diseases. Amorfix utilizes its computational discovery platform, ProMIS™, to predict novel Disease Specific Epitopes (DSEs) on the molecular surface of misfolded proteins. Using this technology, Amorfix is developing novel antibody therapeutics and companion diagnostics for cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, Amorfix has developed two proprietary technologies to specifically identify very low levels of misfolded proteins in a biological sample: Epitope Protection™ and AMFIA™, an ultra-sensitive dual-bead immunoassay. Use of these technologies has generated a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) screening test for both Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and an ultrasensitive method for detecting the hallmark of AD, aggregated beta-Amyloid, in brain tissue, CSF and blood from animal models of AD. For more information about Amorfix, visit www.amorfix.com.
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SOURCE Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.