Nyrada Limited (ASX:NYR) CEO, James Bonnar, discusses the company's lead candidates for lowering cholesterol and treating brain injuries.
Katrina Bullock: Hello. I'm Katrina Bullock for the Finance News Network, and joining me in our Sydney studio today is Chief Executive Officer of Nyrada (ASX:NYR), James Bonnar. James, congratulations on the listing and welcome to the network.
James Bonnar: Thank you for having me.
Katrina Bullock: Now, first up, for investors that might be unfamiliar with the newly listed Nyrada, could you give us a bit of an introduction?
James Bonnar: So, Nyrada is a commercially focused biotech, concentrating on identifying hot targets and early-stage development and taking those compounds through to the point where they can be either sold or licensed out.
Katrina Bullock: Now, James, what attracted you to the company?
James Bonnar: Firstly the diversity of the lead programs, the first one being a drug to lower cholesterol, the second being a neuroprotectant to treat traumatic brain injury and stroke.
The second thing that attracted me was the calibre of the people assembled. We have a very experienced board, and on that board we have Christopher Cox, who was an Executive Vice President for The Medicines Company, a company which was recently purchased by Novartis for AU$14 billion.
On the scientific advisory board, we have Professor Gary Housley, who is one of the world-leading researchers in the mechanisms behind brain injury. Also we have Professor Gilles Lambert, who is one of the key researchers behind the mechanisms of how cholesterol is metabolised by the body.
Katrina Bullock: Now turning to the product pipeline, could you tell us a little bit more about that cholesterol-lowering treatment that you mentioned?
James Bonnar: So, we are developing a convenient and cost-effective single pill option, which will help the 40 to 50 per cent of patients who have a suboptimal response to statin treatment. Often, patients that take statins, they either have a suboptimal response or they're statin-intolerant. And that means that they can't reach their target LDL cholesterol levels.
Katrina Bullock: And what's the size of the statin market at the moment?
James Bonnar: Well, last year the statin market was worth approximately US$20 billion. So, it's a very large market for us to go after.
Katrina Bullock: And how about human trials? Where are you up to in regards to human trials?
James Bonnar: Well, at the moment we're selecting our lead compound, and we will take the drug into our first in-human clinical study by the end of 2021.
Katrina Bullock: You've mentioned a neuroprotection treatment designed to treat strokes and traumatic brain injury. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?
James Bonnar: Sure. So, the aim here is a treatment to address secondary brain injury, and that's the injury that occurs in the hours and days following a stroke or a traumatic brain injury. In the US, approximately two and a half million people annually have a traumatic brain injury and about 800,000 suffer a stroke. So, combined, it's around three and a half million people that currently are underserved in terms of available treatments.
Katrina Bullock: And how is your solution different to what's currently available?
James Bonnar: Well, in terms of stroke, the treatment options are very limited. There is a drug on the market that is a clot-busting drug. However, the downside to that is it's only applicable to about 15 per cent of the market because it has such a tight time window for administration.
In terms of traumatic brain injury, that's a complete unmet clinical need. If you have a traumatic brain injury, the options are fairly limited, and they're restricted to neurosurgery or physical rehabilitation.
Katrina Bullock: So how is this particular treatment progressing?
James Bonnar: We're in a lead optimisation, and we'll start a first in-human clinical study with this drug in mid 2022.
Katrina Bullock: So, now turning to the corporate aspects of the company, could you give us a snapshot of Nyrada's financial position?
James Bonnar: The IPO raised eight and a half million dollars, which was the maximum amount we were after. We're going to use that money to advance our cholesterol-lowering drug through to a Phase 1 clinical study, and that will also fund the neuroprotection program most of the way through preclinical development towards clinical development.
I should also add that one of the reasons that Nyrada was formed as a US company is because that makes it easier for us to access non-dilutive funding in the US, including government grants.
Katrina Bullock: James, before we let you go, was there anything else you'd like to add?
James Bonnar: I'd just like to say how excited we are with the two lead programs. They represent significant scientific and commercial potential. So, what investors should look out for this year are a selection of our lead candidates for our cholesterol-lowering program and our neuroprotection program, and steps we take to advance them into human clinical studies.