The BIO Investor Forum will be here before we know it, and we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the companies who will be presenting at the 10th anniversary event.
Q: What are the short-term and long-term priorities for your company?
Short term – in oncology, completing the GI-4000 phase 2 pancreas cancer trial, initiating a GI-6207 phase 2 trial in medullary thyroid cancer, filing the GI-6301 IND. In infectious disease completing the expansion of the GI-5005 phase 2 trial in hepatitis C and completing preclinical work in hepatitis B. Completing at least one additional strategic partnership. Longer term we need to achieve liquidity for our investors either through an IPO or M&A transaction and initiate pivotal trials with at least one of our products.
Q: How does your company go about differentiating yourselves from the competition?
We are differentiated from our competition in the immunotherapy space by the breadth, and simplicity and apparent safety of the Tarmogen yeast platform and by our ability in preclinical and clinical trials thus far to generate potent cellular immune responses against multiple different infectious and oncologic targets, with product candidates that are well-tolerated. From a corporate perspective we have a strong, validating oncology partnership with Celgene, we have been successful at financing privately and with a very small staff have now taken three products into or through successful phase 1 and 2 trials with promising results thus far.
Q: What is the most challenging part of raising money and seeking collaborations?
Immunology has traditionally been a challenging area for investors and potential strategic partners but the combination of the comprehensive data we have generated against multiple targets and the predictability of the platform have helped to overcome this. In oncology, the recent successes of Provenge and ipilimumab have helped to convince observers that the immune system is capable of generating meaningful clinical outcomes. The fact that the IPO market remains as challenging as it has been for the last several years has limited financing opportunities and exits for investors – this has put pressure on companies at all stages of development.
Q: Tell us something about your company that investors might not know.
Since the founding of the Company, we have developed Tarmogens designed for 100 different targets to be tested as candidates for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. The company’s lead infectious disease product candidate, GI-5005, is a Tarmogen being developed for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C infection (HCV). Our two lead oncology product candidates are GI-4000 and GI-6207. GI-4000 is being investigated in clinical trials for the treatment of cancers expressing mutated Ras, including non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and colorectal cancer. GI-6207 is being evaluated in clinical trials in patients with CEA expressing tumors.