Immutep Limited (ASX:IMM) CEO and Executive Director Marc Voigt provides an update on the company, discussing a recent capital raise and results in lung cancer and head and neck cancer.
Rachael Jones: Hello. I'm Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Joining me from Immutep (ASX:IMM) is CEO Marc Voigt. Mark, welcome back to FNN.
Marc Voigt: Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure.
Rachael Jones: Now, Marc, can you briefly describe for us what Immutep is doing at this time?
Marc Voigt: Sure. Immutep is a biotech company. We are active in immuno-oncology as well as in autoimmune diseases. We're actually the leader for one specific immune checkpoint, LAG-3, which is very relevant. It's actually the most promising immune checkpoint beyond PD-1, where you have multi-billion-dollar blockbusters based on, or CTLA-4, and you will see around the globe dozens of clinical trials with thousands of patients, so it's a good division to be in, and of course we hope to deliver them.
Rachael Jones: Now, last time we spoke was around the middle of this year. What has happened since then?
Marc Voigt: Oh, quite a lot. We have been reporting data at ASCO, which is a big clinical oncology conference in the US, and then ESMO in Europe, also around oncology, and then most recently at SITC from our TACTI-002 clinical trial, which we do in collaboration with Merck. Besides that we also are supporting the global COVID efforts, so we are providing drug Eftilagimod to a group at the university clinic at Pilsen in Czech Republic. We have been expanding our intellectual property portfolio, so really, really a lot has happened in the past month.
Rachael Jones: And can you explain the recent results at SITC in lung cancer and head and neck cancer, and the subsequent financing there?
Marc Voigt: We reported data from the trial we do in collaboration with US Merck, so it's Keytruda plus Eftilagimod Alpha in first-line non-small cell lung cancer, second-line non-small cell lung cancer and second-line head and neck cancer. And the data was very well received. We actually, by and large, doubled the response rate you would typically expect with Keytruda alone, and this in different specific subgroups of patients, regardless where Keytruda is supposed to work or not. So, it's actually pretty good. At this stage, it's a robust basis for future clinical developments. We had discussions with our collaboration partner. We decided to go ahead in first-line non-small cell lung cancer, and also we will do a trial in first-line head and neck cancer, and this of course needs to be financed.
So, it is a value-enabling financing. We raised close to $30 million Australian dollars from top institutional investors from Australia, also supported by a US investor. I think it's quite a good raise, important for us. We extended also our cash reach till end of 2022, so that we can really focus on delivering good data to build on the data that we have, and do not need to go back to the market in the next period of time. So, it was pretty good, but really also a value-enabling raise.
Rachael Jones: Excellent. And what are the next potential catalysts and events?
Marc Voigt: Yeah. 2020 is almost over, not for us. We will have data, actually, middle of December, at the so-called San Antonio Breast Cancer Conference. It's among the best breast cancer conferences in the world, so a very relevant place to be. We have a spotlight presentation from our big AIPAC clinical trial, where we reported some data end of March. So, this will come in the remainder of this year, maybe the one or the other update regarding our other programs as well. And then in the next year, there's quite a lot to expect. From our partners, for instance, GlaxoSmithKline, you know that we have an exclusive worldwide licensing arrangement there, they expect clinical proof of concept in first half of 2021. We will report data from Eftilagimod, our lead program, start of new clinical trials, more data from the existing clinical trials, also we hope for updates from Novartis and also our preclinical asset IMP-761 should move forward. So, there's really a lot to expect, actually, more than we had already in 2020.
Rachael Jones: Marc Voigt, a pleasure to speak to you again. Thanks again for the update.
Marc Voigt: Thank you so much.