Neurodegenerative Diseases Based on its Broad Anti-Tau Clinical Pipeline

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Aug 15, 2019

AC Immune SA (NASDAQ: ACIU), a Swiss-based, biopharmaceutical company with a broad clinical-stage pipeline focused on neurodegenerative diseases, today announced its business and clinical plan and strategy, reported consolidated financial results for the second quarter of 2019 and its revised cash guidance. 

Prof. Andrea Pfeifer, Ph.D., CEO of AC Immune, commented: “Our business strategy is based on a three-pillar approach in the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, NeuroOrphan therapeutics, and diagnostics. Our Roadmap to Successful Therapies for Neurodegenerative Diseases is based on treating earlier, targeting Tau, incorporating homogeneous populations, applying for precision medicine and targeting neuroinflammation.”

There is a growing body of clinical evidence that Tau drives disease progression. AC Immune has one of the broadest anti-Tau pipelines with antibodies, small molecules, vaccines, and diagnostics, covering five clinical trials and partnerships with four major pharmaceutical companies.

“SupraAntigenTM and MorphomerTM, our proprietary discovery platforms are the foundation for multiple product candidates," added Dr. Pfeifer.  “The productivity of these platforms has recently demonstrated significant clinical, value-creating milestones.”

Research & Development Highlights Q2 2019 and Beyond

  • Dosing of the first subject in a Phase 1 study of ACI-3024, a first-in-class investigational oral small molecule Tau Morphomer™ inhibitor that will be studied in neurodegenerative diseases that are characterized by the presence of pathological Tau aggregates. This is the first significant advancement in AC Immune’s collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company 
  • Initiation of a Phase 1b/2a clinical trial to evaluate ACI-35.030, a clinically advanced anti-phospho-Tau designed to reduce and to prevent the spread and development of Tau pathology to treat early and moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
  • Initial interim data from an ongoing Phase 1b trial of AC Immune’s ACI-24 anti-Abeta vaccine, to treat AD-like symptoms in subjects with Down syndrome (DS), demonstrated strong safety and preliminary immunogenicity results
  • Hosted a Key Opinion Leader (KOL) event, where presentations underscored the significant need and opportunity for studying AD-like symptoms in DS, a high-risk and genetically homogeneous population
  • Initiation of a substudy by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in the ongoing Phase 2 Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API) trial of AC Immune’s investigational candidate, crenezumab. The substudy, which measures Tau burden using Positron Emission Tomography (PET), aims to increase the understanding of disease progression in the preclinical stage of autosomal dominantly inherited, or familiar, AD
  • Initiation of a research partnership with leading scientists in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) focused on studying the pathological mechanisms of TDP-43 misfolding and aggregation

Anticipated Near-Term Milestones

  • H2:2019:  Proof-of-concept data from three NeuroOrphan indications from our SupraAntigen™ platform
  • H2:2020: Readout from a Phase 2 clinical trial in prodromal/mild AD patients from the SupraAntigen™ platform
  • Multiple clinical trial readouts from collaboration partners in 2020/2021 confirming Tau antibodies as a viable approach to halting the progression of AD and other neurodegenerative conditions

Analysis of Financial Statements for the Three and Six Months Ended June 30, 2019

  • Cash Position: The Company had a total cash balance of CHF 285.7 million, comprised of CHF 205.7 million in cash and cash equivalents and CHF 80.0 million in short-term financial assets. This compares to a total cash balance of CHF 186.5 million as of December 31, 2018. The increase of CHF 99.2 million is principally due to the CHF 80 million upfront payment and USD 50 million convertible equity note related to the agreement with Lilly. Further details are available in our Statements of Cash Flows in the accompanying Form 6-K.
    The total shareholders’ equity position increased from December 31, 2018, to CHF 273.3 million from CHF 177.6 million. Further details are available in our corresponding Financial Statements filed on the accompanying Form 6-K.
  • Revenues:  Revenues for the three and six months ended June 30, 2019, totaled CHF 1.5 million and CHF 76.6 million, respectively. This represents a decrease of CHF 0.5 million and an increase of CHF 73.1 million compared to the respective periods in 2018. The decrease for the three-month period relates to 2018 Biogen revenues not repeated in 2019, as this contract concluded in April. The increase for the six-month period is driven by the recognition of CHF 74.3 million from the right-of-use license and research and development activities linked to the 2018 Lilly agreement. Revenues fluctuate as a result of payments associated with our collaborations with current and potential new partners, the timing of milestone achievements and the size of each milestone payment.
  • R&D Expenditures:  R&D expenditures increased by CHF 2.2 million (+21%) and CHF 3.7 million (+18%) for the three and six months ended June 30, 2019, compared to the comparable periods in 2018, respectively. The Company largely increased its investments in AD, non-AD and new discovery programs. For AD, the Company prepared activities for its Phase 1b/2a and Phase 2 studies for ACI-35 and ACI-24 AD, respectively. For non-AD, the Company increased investment in its MorphomerTM alpha-synuclein programs and continued to advance ACI-24 DS through clinical development. Finally, in new discovery, the Company continues to focus on its neuroinflammation discovery programs.
  • G&A Expenses: For the three and six months ended June 30, 2019, G&A increased CHF 0.5 million (+17%) and CHF 1.1 million (+19%) to CHF 3.6 million and CHF 6.9 million, respectively. Increases are driven by rental, personnel and IT expenses.
  • IFRS Income/(Loss) for the period:  The Company incurred a net loss and net income after taxes of CHF 16.9 million and CHF 46.7 million for the three and six months ended June 30, 2019, respectively, compared with net losses of CHF 11.1 million and CHF 22.8 million for the comparable periods in 2018.

About AC Immune
AC Immune SA is a Nasdaq-listed clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, which aims to become a global leader in Precision Medicine for neurodegenerative diseases. The Company is utilizing two proprietary discovery platforms, SupraAntigenTM and MorphomerTM, to design, discover and develop small molecule and biological therapeutics as well as diagnostic products intended to diagnose, prevent and modify neurodegenerative diseases caused by misfolding proteins. The Company's pipeline features nine therapeutic and three diagnostic product candidates, with five currently in clinical trials. It has collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies including Roche/Genentech, Lilly and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.

As a strategic leader in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, AC Immune has developed a five-point Roadmap to Successful Therapies for Neurodegenerative Diseases that recognizes the importance of treating earlier, targeting Tau, focusing on more homogeneous populations, precision medicine and exploring neuroinflammation as a target.

Articles authored by Martin Signer

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