JERUSALEM, Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a letter to shareholders from Ophir Shahaf, CEO of Hadasit Bio-Holdings, Ltd. (OTCBB: HADSY), a publicly traded portfolio of biotech companies based on intellectual property developed and owned by Hadassah University Hospital.
Dear Fellow Investors,
Hadasit Bio-Holdings is celebrating six years since its establishment by the Hadassah University Hospital and its IPO which made public participation in leading biotechnological developments, based on the scientific and medical knowledge and experience of the Hadassah institution, possible.
Over the years, many emerging companies have turned to public markets for financing and the general public has been more exposed to the world of biotechnology and medical developments as a result. During this time, we have had strong business and clinical progress in our portfolio and the value of our subsidiary companies has grown significantly. That said, the economy and overall market have provided its fair share of challenges.
Similar to 2008, we are witnessing the upheavals occurring in the global economy which are impacting the financial markets in particular. Despite economic conditions, the standard of medical treatment around the world continues to improve. As such, world life expectancy is on the rise, resulting in a rise in disease. In light of these trends, pharmaceutical companies are continuing their research efforts, and capital investments are driving the improvement of existing developments as well as propelling the introduction of new ones. Hadasit Bio-Holdings is taking part in this effort as well while enjoying its strong market position – a point worth making as the scientific base and the developmental abilities of Hadasit's portfolio companies have remained strong. Hadassah is world-renown in the fields of Oncology, Tissue Engineering, Autoimmune Diseases and continues to be a leading center of medical research and development.
Over the past years, most of Hadasit Bio's portfolio companies have received recognition from global pharmaceutical companies, like TEVA, Sanofi and other leading players in the field. They have joined Hadasit Bio-Holdings as partners by making direct investments in portfolio companies after recognizing the strong scientific base and the developmental abilities of Hadasit's holding companies. This support from industry leaders validates our efforts and serves to further advance these portfolio companies into the growing medical markets.
At a time when industry trends and market conditions often overshadow the progress of any single company, we see it as an obligation to our shareholders to provide an investor update and outline our progress, current expectations and growth milestones that we are working to achieve.
Business Overview & Background:
Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd. was established by an arm of Hadassah Hospitals which runs the business operations of two hospitals in Jerusalem. The company was formed with the goal of advancing the knowledge and experience accumulated in the hospital's research labs, and was listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to enable public investment into this research.
The close ties between Hadassah Hospital and Hadasit Bio provide many unique advantages that most companies can only dream of including: direct access to a stream of ideas, research, cooperative abilities, from the best minds and researchers in their fields, access to facilities that perform clinical trials and hospital wards that provide maximum efficiency and great savings. In addition, the companies enjoy the Hadassah Medical Organization's centers of excellence - a leader in innovation and infrastructure among the hospitals in Israel and the world.
As a result, Hadasit currently has seven portfolio biotechnology companies, all of which have passed the feasibility proving stages - scientific efficacy in animal models that show great promise. In addition, our public listing has provided financial strength and had the cash and cash equivalence of about $5.4 million as of June 30, 2011.
In response to investor interest, Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd. issued American Depositary receipts (ADR's), in partnership with The Bank of New York to expose US investors to the company. After a June launch, market makers joined on making it possible to trade stock in the United States on the OTC Bulletin Board Exchange under the symbol "HADSY". This allowed foreign investors who are familiar with the Hadassah Hospital, its exceptional level of medical care and innovation, as well as the wider, general investment community who views Israel as an innovative force in the Biomed and Life Sciences field, to easily access Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd. stock in the USA.
Our unique holding company model extending a private hospital in to the public market has attracted global interest. Delegations from all over the world including China, Sweden, Russia and the USA have studied our business to explore the model and potential partnership possibilities.
Investment options in new and fascinating companies are constantly being examined as our current portfolio matures. In order to manage risk and to utilize the relative advantage Hadasit Bio has as a holding company with a hospital in its back yard, we have developed an innovative business model for these investments. The model is based on a relatively small initial investment for the purpose of financing a feasibility trial with one of Hadassah's specialists, while receiving the option of investing significantly more and under better conditions after the success of the trial.
Following is a concise study of the prominent portfolio companies of Hadasit:
Thrombotech is involved in the development of a peptide-based drug for the treatment of strokes, myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, and venous infarction – conditions that have large target markets evaluated at billions of dollars per year. The drug is based on the research of Prof. Abd Higazi, from Hadassah Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania. In June 2011, Thrombotech announced the start of a Phase II trial in Israel and the plans to expand the trial to some six additional sites in Israel and around the world. A regulatory permit from India has been granted and the beginning of the trial in other Israeli sites in Europe and the US is expected in Q1 of 2012.
ProtAb is focused on the development of drugs for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. The drug is based on research by Prof. Yaakov Naparstek, the Head of Internal Medicine at Hadassah Hospital. After successfully producing humanized antibodies, the company is in the final stages of drug scale-up under GMP conditions, and is in preparation for Phase I/II clinical trials -- which are expected to commence at the beginning of 2012.
Enlivex is developing cell therapy for autoimmune diseases, and is currently nearing the end of a Phase I/II clinical trial. From initial findings received from treatment groups, the treatment seems to be safe and effective in reducing graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in patients receiving bone marrow transplants. The company believes that it can receive approval from the FDA for orphan drug recognition, a status that permits the speeding up of regulatory procedures and provides commercial advantages. There are ongoing negotiations with potential partners – financial and scientific alike.
BioMarCare Technologies Ltd.
BioMarCare Technologies announced the receipt of a prestigious grant from the BIRD Fund ($900,000) for the support of a joint project with an American company in July. The company is also developing a kit based on innovative biomarkers, for cancer detection (breast and colon) in blood tests. A trial based on samples from sick and healthy people from the Oncology department is headed by Prof. Tamar Peretz, and is making progress on a multi-centered trial kit.
BioMarCare laboratories are situated within the Hadassah Oncology department enabling close research and clinical cooperation including access to the hospital's sample archives.
KAHR Medical Ltd.
KAHR received a significant investment and vote of confidence from the pharmaceutical giant – Sanofi (formally known as Sanofi-Aventis). In addition, Sanofi committed to participate in an additional funding round for the company, which is currently being finalized.
KAHR Medical has breakthrough technology in the cancer and inflammatory fields. The treatment targets two complimentary attributes of the disease and provides a synergistic effect. A clinical trial is expected to begin towards the end of 2012 at Hadassah Hospital.
Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd.
Cell Cure is active in the innovative field of driving and preparing fetal stem cells for the treatment of neurological and eye diseases. The aim of the company's leading product is to treat AMD disease (age-related macular degeneration), which is the main cause of blindness in the aging population. The company is nearing advanced trial stages of the animal model, which will form the basis for contact with regulatory authorities in Israel and abroad, so clinical trials can begin. The company has access to the hospital's cell pool, and to the researchers' expertise. Teva Ltd. and the American company BioTime Inc. are stockholders and partners in the company's progress.
In closing, I would like to thank all of our partners, shareholders, and dedicated employees for their support. The entire Hadasit Bio-Holdings team remains focused on advancing our portfolio companies going forward and are excited about the new opportunities that lie ahead.
Adv. Ophir Shahaf, CEO
Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd.
About Hadasit Bio-Holdings:
Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd., established in 2006, is the publicly traded subsidiary of Hadasit Ltd. - the technology transfer company of the Hadassah University Hospital, Israel's foremost medical research center. The Company was established for the purpose of promoting and commercializing the intellectual property and R&D capabilities generated by Hadassah.
HADSY is the domestically traded ADR of Hadasit Bio-Holdings, a public investment vehicle representing a portfolio of biotech companies, all based on inventions developed at Hadassah.
Hadasit Bio-Holdings focuses on advancing companies that are past successful preclinical trials and close to completion of Phase I/II clinical trials. The portfolio companies develop drugs with blockbuster potential (markets that are worth over a billion dollars) and operate in the fields of cancer, inflammatory diseases and tissue regeneration using stem cells - areas in which the Hadassah Hospital has extensive knowledge and recognition as a global leader.
For more information please visit: www.hbl.co.il.
KCSA Strategic Communications
Jeff Corbin / Rob Fink
SOURCE Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd.