Anatara Lifesciences (ASX:ANR) - gastrointestinal health developer


by Anna Napoli

Anatara Lifesciences Limited (ASX:ANR) CEO, Steven Lydeamore talks about the company's clinical studies program and its lead Gastrointestinal Reprogramming Product (GaRP) for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Anna Napoli:
Welcome to the Finance News Network, I’m Anna Napoli and joining me now from Anatara Lifesciences (ASX:ANR) is CEO, Steven Lydeamore. Steve, welcome to FNN.

Steven Lydeamore: Thank you.

Anna Napoli: First up Steve, can we start with a quick introduction to the company?

Steven Lydeamore: Anatara Lifesciences was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2014 to develop and commercialise an animal health product based on bromelain. It was successfully developed and approved and licensed to Zoetis Inc. (NYSE:ZTS), the world’s largest global animal health company. We’ve transitioned to human health and are presently working in the area of gastrointestinal disease.

Anna Napoli: Before we talk about your lead product in more detail, a more general question first. What exactly is the incidence of gastrointestinal disease and what does it cover?

Steven Lydeamore: There is a broad number of diseases within the gastrointestinal space. We’re specifically focused at the moment on irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS and inflammatory bowel disease. These two diseases have different incidence. In IBD, much lower with around five million people worldwide. IBS, which is highly prevalent in the population, one in five or around 20 per cent of the Australian population will experience in their lifetime, is a significant disease with higher met need.

Anna Napoli: Now turning to your lead product. Can you tell us how it works?

Steven Lydeamore: Our human health product also contains bromelain, but also contains a number of other ingredients. We’re targeting IBS and IBD, which have shared product characteristics. And in these diseases there’s inflammation, which is core in IBD, severe and chronic through to IBS, which is less severe. Both have a state of a microbiome, which is in dysbiosis and also an impaired gastrointestinal lining. Our product is targeted to the microbiome and it addresses each of these three points. So that’s just repeating again - inflammation, repairing of the gut lining and importantly, stopping the bad bacteria from attaching to the gut wall.

Anna Napoli: And what stage of development is the product at?

Steven Lydeamore: We have just completed preclinical in vitro studies, or proof of concept studies, showing that our product does in fact address the three points I mentioned before. It stops the bad bacteria from attaching to the gut wall lining and burrowing in. When bugs do that, they disrupt the gut lining, so that’s what we’re trying to avoid. It also has been shown to repair the mucosal lining, repairing any damage that has been done already and importantly, to reduce inflammation. And the numbers that we got in this study, the percentages, which you’ll see on our website in our press release, are very very good and give us confidence moving into the next stages of human clinical development.

Anna Napoli: Turning to your finances and share price. What’s your cash position like?

Steven Lydeamore: As at the end of December, the last reported cash balance we had was $6 million, which is sufficient to take us through to 2020. Which is the time by which we will likely partner our product, at least that’s the target. So we have no present funding requirement, we’re cash sufficient for our needs.

Anna Napoli: Can you provide a comment on your share price over the last 12 months?

Steven Lydeamore: We’ve come off a high after the Zoetis Inc (NYSE:ZTS) deal was struck. And from the 52-week low, we’ve rebounded recently by 40 per cent. Year to date share price appreciation is a little bit in excess of 7 per cent.

Anna Napoli: Last question Steve. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Steven Lydeamore: Just one last thing. So, the timeframe for partnering our human health product is in 18 to 24 months. This will commence after completion of the animal IBD study, which is soon to commence. And this will happen before the end of this calendar year, as will commencement of a human IBS clinical trial.

Anna Napoli: Steven Lydeamore, thank you for the update.

Steven Lydeamore: Thank you very much.