Drugs development firm boosted by first milestone payment with further scheduled

Drugs development company, Evgen Pharma, has recorded revenues for the year to March 31, 2023, as opposed to zero sales the previous year, but saw pre-tax losses widen.

However, the Alderley Park-based company said the figures are in line with expectations. It also revealed the search for a new chief finance officer is under way, following the announcement that current incumbent, Richard Moulson, is to retire at the AGM in late July.

Evgen achieved turnover of £442,000, an improvement on no income a year ago. Pre-tax losses of £5.006m increased from a loss of £3.169m in the same period last year.

Cash outflow from operations during 2023 were £4.1m, an increase of the £2.6m registered a year ago

Cash and short-term investments and cash on deposit at March 31, 2023 stood at £5m, down from £9m last March.

In October last year Evgen revealed a deal with Swiss company Stalicla SA – a specialist in the identification of specific phenotypes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – which could be worth up to $160.5m in milestone payments.

Today’s announcement showed that a $0.5m milestone payment has been received from Stalicla, and up to $5.5m in further milestones are expected by December 31, 2024.

Also, during the reporting period, grant applications were submitted to Netherlands authorities to fund glioblastoma pre-clinical and clinical work and positive regulatory advice received to date regarding a glioblastoma trial.

Further progress has been achieved with the University of Manchester collaboration investigating the potential use of Evgen’s SFX-01 in breast cancer patients with resistance to CDK4/6 inhibitors, and there is also continued collaboration with the University La Sapienza di Roma on potential radio-sensitisation properties of SFX-01, as well as with the University of Michigan, to investigate the potential anti-tumour effects of SFX-01 in colorectal cancer.

During the current financial year, clinical trials in autism spectrum disorder and glioblastoma are scheduled to commence by partners within the next 12 months, while data from breast cancer, colorectal cancer and radio-sensitisation pre-clinical work is expected by the end of 2023.

Chief executive, Dr Huw Jones, said: “The last year has seen substantial progress in both our science and in our stated aim of out-licensing our technology in cash-generating partnerships.

“Of particular note is our partnership with Stalicla in autism spectrum disorder that could generate substantial non-dilutive income over a long period.

“Our new commercial scale formulation of SFX-01 has performed well in our Phase 1b healthy volunteer study, showing release commensurate with the enteric coat, absence of SAEs and total active and active metabolite levels in the range seen in vitro where substantial biological activity was observed.

“In our pre-clinical collaborations, we were pleased to see evidence of radio-sensitisation by SFX-01 in a further tumour type (rhabdomyosarcoma), complementing results seen previously in models of glioblastoma. The coming year promises even more evaluation of SFX-01 in the clinic and the receipt of substantial milestone payments, positioning us well to continue to progress our programmes at all levels.”

He added: “On a personal note, I would like to express my sincere thanks to our CFO Richard who is retiring at the AGM. His steadfast support and well considered judgements have been invaluable both to the company and to me personally. I wish him and his family the very best as they enjoy considerably more leisure time that will no doubt fill up very quickly.”