Cellmid (ASX:CDY) expects to have substantial sales growth in the 2015 calendar year, building on its consumer health business delivering a 60% increase in sales for the December Quarter 2014.
This was achieved despite a reduced product range and distribution due to the ongoing rebranding in Australia.
The company is broadening its Australian pharmacy distribution to increase its footprint in this channel.
It also expects to double its salon sales force by the end of 2015 with a corresponding increase in sales.
“Our consumer health products have enormous market potential and our 2015 plans have been developed to turbocharge the business towards the market,” chief executive officer Maria Halasz said.
“All our Australian products, pharmacy and salon, will be brought under the single évolis brand, our pharmacy product range will increase from two to six and our salon offerings from six to fifteen products.”
The company is also progressing its lead humanised oncology anti-midkine antibody (CAB102) for use in solid tumours towards the next value inflection point.
It recently completed production of CAB102 and now has sufficient quantities of the drug product to complete tissue cross reactivity and single dose toxicology studies.
“For a ‘first in class’ antibody, such as our CAB102, these data sets will add substantial value to the program,” Halasz added.
“Not only they will enable us to reach a pre-IND meeting, but they will also facilitate our partnering discussions in relation to our other antibody assets.”
The company’s Advangen research team in Japan started the year having secured Japanese Government funding for new equipment.
Under the “Monozukuri” grant program, Advangen may receive up to 23 million yen ($240,000) in reimbursement for research equipment purchased during the qualifying period.
In recent months, it has fine-tuned data from its highly predictive whole hair assay for the accurate assessment of hair growth potential for its new compounds.
The recent data on the company’s novel, patented compounds are encouraging, showing FGF5 inhibition and strong hair growth promotion.
Adding to interest, its collaboration with Chiba University’s Professor Taiichi Sakamoto is expected to deliver aptamers designed to bind specifically to and inhibit FGF5.
These will be the first nucleic acid based compounds for hair-growth in the world and could mean new, patented products.
Cellmid’s products are also being tested in collaboration with leading Tokyo University surgeon Dr. Kotaro Yoshimura, a specialist in plastic and reconstructive surgery who runs a hair growth research team using in-vivo, in-vitro and ex-vivo systems.
In addition, Kikkoman, the number one soy sauce producer in the world, has agreed to use their proprietary recombinant protein production system for the production of FGF5S, at their cost.
FGF5S is a truncated peptide of FGF5, which has previously been reported by AIST, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, to inhibit biological functions of FGF5.
As one of the company’s intellectual property assets, Cellmid has an exclusive license to use FGF5S in its products. Kikkoman will be the first group able to produce biologically active and stable FGF5S.
Recently, Cellmid has had three significant patents granted in key geographical regions over the use of midkine (MK) and anti-MK agents in the treatment of several diseases and conditions.
These add to the company’s already comprehensive intellectual property protection for its MK based therapeutics and MK antibodies including CAB102.
Global research on MK is continuing, advancing Cellmid’s understanding of the molecule and adding to the data set supporting its intellectual property.
The MK literature now stands at approximately 680 papers, and since June 2014 MK has been the subject of 20 new papers.
Some highlights include:
- Cancer: Yet more clinical evidence that higher MK levels correlate with more deadly disease. Five recent studies affirm this to be true for stomach cancer, thyroid cancer plus brain tumours. These studies further reinforce the central role that MK plays in the progression of many tumor types, highlighting the opportunity that MK offers as both a biomarker and a target in oncology.
- Kidney injury and disease: Three studies in very different renal disease settings concluded that MK expression correlated strongly with kidney damage. Importantly, one group of researchers found that kidney damage was greatly reduced in a MK-knockout mouse model of lupus nephritis, thereby showing that MK is not merely a marker of lupus nephritis kidney damage it is a key driver of damage.
- Midkine as a treatment for osteoarthritis (OA): Cellmid’s collaborator Professor Wei Han of Regeneromics (Shanghai, China) published a study of OA induced in a mouse model. Injections of MK into joints affected by OA were able to prevent cartilage degradation. The group also reported that the treatment was apparently safe; no toxicological effects were seen during dosing, and post mortem pathology on the major organs showed no evidence of abnormality.
- Midkine as a treatment for congestive heart failure (CHF): It is already well known that MK can alleviate cardiac damage due to ischemia (blockage of the coronary artery, which is crucial to keeping the heart beating). A recent study has now also found that treatment with MK can treat heart failure due to non-ischemic origins.
Zoetis Option Agreement
The recent option agreement with Zoetis, the world’s largest animal health company, for the evaluation and option to license of one of Cellmid’s anti-midkine antibodies for therapeutic use in companion animals offers the company opportunities in animal health.
Companion animals are a growing market opportunity and have generated much of the growth in the animal health market in recent years.
Formerly the animal health unit of Pfizer, Zoetis was spun out in 2013 and is currently capitalised at US$23 billion.
Zoetis’ diverse and strong product portfolio and an exceptionally capable and experienced sales team led it to generate US$4.6 billion annual revenue in 2013, 36% of which was generated from its companion animal product portfolio.
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