Mesoblast Submits BLA, And Other News: The Good, Bad And Ugly Of Biopharma – Seeking Alpha

Posted: February 8, 2020 at 7:40 pm

Mesoblast Tenders Completed Biologics License Application

Mesoblast Limited (MESO) announced that it has filed a completed Biologics License Application (BLA) with the United States Food and Drug Administration for its lead allogeneic cell therapy Ryoncil. The therapy is aimed at treating children with steroid-refractory acute graft versus host disease (SR-aGVHD).

Mesoblast submitted the final module of its rolling BLA submission on January 31, 2020. This module covers various aspects related to manufacturing and quality control. The drug candidate currently has Fast Track designation assigned to it and on the basis of this tag, the company is now seeking the FDA to carry out Priority Review of its BLA.

Subject to the approval of the therapy, the company is looking to launch it in the US markets in 2020. CEO Dr. Silviu Itescu said, "This is a major corporate milestone for Mesoblast." The company is expected to use the insights gained from its Temcell product in Japan for the marketing of Ryoncil.

Acute Graft versus Host disease affects nearly 50 percent of patients given an allogeneic Bone Marrow transplant. It is estimated that nearly 30,000 patients undergo bone marrow transplants worldwide. The mortality rate for patients suffering from actual GVHD is close to 90 percent. Currently, there is no FDA approved treatment for this in the United States for children under 12.

Ryoncil has been tested on 309 children suffering from SR-aGVHD during three different studies. It was employed as salvage therapy on 241 children with SR-aGVHD (80% Grade C/D) who failed institutional standard of care. It has also been tested as first line therapy for an open label Phase 3 trial in 55 children with SR-aGVHD. RYONCIL, is an investigational therapy comprising culture-expanded mesenchymal stem cells. These stem cells are taken from the bone marrow of an unrelated donor. The drug is administered to patients as intravenous infusions.

Mesoblast specializes in developing allogeneic cellular medicines. The company uses its proprietary cell therapy technology platform for research and development purpose. It has strong drug pipeline with products such as Remestemcel-L, Revascor, MPC-06-ID and MPC-300-IV. Revascor and MPC-06-ID have completed patient enrollment for its Phase 3 trials. The former drug candidate is aimed at treating advanced chronic heart failure while the latter is targeted at treating chronic low back pain caused by degenerative disc disease. The companys Temcell and Alofisel drugs are already approved in Japan and Europe, respectively.

Mesoblast has posted strong operative results as well. The company had reported 46 percent growth in its revenue during the first quarter of 2020. Mesoblast ended the quarter with $34.5 million in cash while its pro forma cash in hand stood at $100 million. The company also reported its strategic partnership with Grunenthal, which entitles Mesoblast to receive up to $150 million in upfront and milestone payments. The collaboration will also result in commercialization milestone payments. Such milestone payments have the potential to cross $1 billion mark.

Mesoblast stock has performed strongly in the market. The stock has charted over 200 percent in the past 12 months. Currently, it is trading close to its 52-week high of $10.88 and has potential to maintain its positive trajectory as the company forges ahead with its research and development activities and marketing efforts.

Waters Corporation (WAT) reported its fourth-quarter earnings and provided guidance for 2020. The company registered $716 million in revenue for the fourth quarter, in line with the revenue of $715 million it had reported for the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Its GAAP diluted earnings per share stood at $3.12 per share, up from $2.46 on year-on-year basis.

For the full fiscal year 2019, the companys revenue stood at $2.4 billion, down 1 percent from $2.42 billion in revenue it had earned in fiscal year 2018. The EPS for the fiscal year stood at $8.69, up from $7.65 for the previous year. The non GAAP EPS also increased from $8.29 to $8.99 for fiscal year 2019.

The company reported that its sales in both the pharmaceuticals and industrial market declined by 1 percent. However, its sales into the government and academic market grew 8 percent. Chris OConnell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Waters Corporation, said, We were encouraged by the increasing impact in the fourth quarter of our new products launched during 2019.

While its full-year and fourth-quarter numbers were strong, the company provided rather lackluster guidance for fiscal year 2020. Waters Corporation expects its full-year revenue to increase by 1 percent to 3 percent. Its non GAAP EPS will likely remain between $9.15 and $9.40, lower than consensus estimate of $1.75. For its first quarter, Waters Corporations non GAAP EPS for the first quarter is expected to be in the range of $1.55 and $1.65. The consensus estimate for non GAAP EPS guidance was at $1.75.

EyePoint Pharmaceuticals (EYPT) reported its new exclusive licensing deal with Equinox Science. The deal involves the development of vorolanib for treating wet age-related macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion and diabetic retinopathy. Vorolanib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

EyePoint elaborated that its drug candidate EYP 1901, which incorporates vorolanib, uses a miniaturized, sustained release and injectable intravitreal drug delivery system offering six months duration. The company has used its bioerodible Durasert technology for this purpose. EyePoint is optimistic about the combination of vorolanib with Durasert technology for delivering superior results.

Under the terms of the agreement, EyePoint will take care of development and global commercialization of the treatment. However, the global commercialization will exclude China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau regions. For this purpose, EyePoint will pay $1 million to Equinox Science as upfront payment. It will also pay development and regulatory milestones and post commercialization royalties.

EyePoint recently concluded a positive Type B pre investigational New Drug meeting with the FDA. The meeting clarified the pathway for a Phase 1 clinical trial. The company expects to present the data from Phase 1 trial during the second half of 2021. Nancy Lurker, President and Chief Executive Officer of EyePoint Pharmaceuticals, said, We are encouraged by the potential of vorolanib, as it demonstrated a promising Phase 1 and Phase 2 efficacy signal in prior human wAMD studies as an oral therapy and in preclinical animal studies as intravitreal EYP-1901.

EyePoint is a biopharma company specializing in developing novel ophthalmic products. The company currently has two products available in the market which are Dexycu and Yutiqu. The former is the first approved intraocular treatment for postoperative inflammation while the latter is a three-year treatment of chronic non-infectious uveitis affecting the posterior segment of the eye.

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Disclosure: I am/we are long MESO. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Mesoblast Submits BLA, And Other News: The Good, Bad And Ugly Of Biopharma - Seeking Alpha

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