Phylogica Limited (ASX:PYC) CEO Stephanie Unwin talks about highlights from the company's December 2017 quarterly update.
Jessica Amir: Hi Jessica Amir for the Finance News Network today with Phylogica (ASX:PYC) CEO, Stephanie Unwin. Hi Stephanie, welcome back.
Stephanie Unwin: Hi Jessica, nice to see you again.
Jessica Amir: For investors new to the company, can you just give us an introduction to the business?
Stephanie Unwin: Phylogica has a drug delivery platform and what it does, it moves into the intracellular environment where most diseases are. And what we’re about is finding drugs that can get delivered into that space, and our job is to be the delivery part of that.
Jessica Amir: Now to your December quarter update. Just tell us more about your platform technology?
Stephanie Unwin: One of the very best highlights of the December quarter was the results in our mouse model, for our peptide cancer vaccine. So that’s really exciting. If you think about a flu vaccine, it’s the similar kind of approach but with cancer and in ours, it was melanoma. And we were able to show that we could deliver an antigen to a melanoma and that we had great results in our mice, with them staying alive for the full length of the experiment.
So in the December quarter, we also started working on our library. Our library is the thing our platform has been created from. And what we’ve done is we’ve gone back and added more genomes, so more diversity to the library. That means that we can go back and have another look in it, for those functional peptides that get inside cells. And we can find more and more of those, which makes our platform much more diverse and extremely valuable to our pharma customers.
And the third thing that we did in the December quarter was we also enhanced our Board again. We’ve now had Michael Williams join us, who is pedigree USA pharma. He comes from a background of Takeda (TYO:4502), Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE); all of those are the kind of pharma collaborators we want to work with.
Jessica Amir: Maybe you can tell us about your strategic focus over the next coming months?
Stephanie Unwin: The next couple of months we’re all about validating more cargo sets. So you will see from us, more results that show that we can deliver different cargoes into the intracellular space. One of those will be an antimicrobial and we’ll be able to show that in a bacteria injected into mice, that we can deliver a better outcome with our delivery system, than without it.
Jessica Amir: Just a little bit more on the cancer vaccine results. Can you tell us about the market and pharmaceutical response?
Stephanie Unwin: It’s a really large market for cancer vaccines. We’re seeing a lot of interest out of pharma and one company in particular, in the last fortnight has raised $270 million, just to pursue personalised vaccines alone. So we know we’re in a great place in the market and our results are so good, that we’re going to continue to invest in that program. And make sure that our delivery system is matched up with a really strong cancer vaccine piece of work, in live animals.
Jessica Amir: Following your attendance at BIO-Europe and JP Morgan events late last year. Can you just tell us about the response that you’ve had with commercialisation and development, in that space?
Stephanie Unwin: It’s really important in our industry to have partners in the work that you do. So we go to events like JP Morgan and BIO-Europe, in order to meet the big pharma partners we want to do work with. Our approach is to really target those companies that have areas that they’re interested in, that line up really well with our technology. And we’re very deliberate about how we go about it. We set out a research plan, the work we’d like to do together and then we propose a way forward that shows how our delivery, with their cargo, can make a really good drug. So we want to partner to make biologic drugs together.
Jessica Amir: Now to the scientific team, what can we expect over the coming six months?
Stephanie Unwin: They’re working pretty hard. When I talked about the cargoes that we’re looking to deliver, the scientific team in the background are designing all of the experiments, to do further work on cancer vaccine. To do further work on CRISPR, which is gene editing a pretty exciting hot area in pharma, as well as working antimicrobials, which is like the last line of resistance in superbugs. So we’ve got some very exciting cargoes coming up over the course of 2018. And we look forward to sharing those results as we successfully deliver them, with our platform technology.
Jessica Amir: Well you’re doing some remarkable work. Thanks so much for the update, looking forward to following your journey.
Stephanie Unwin: Thanks Jessica.