17 May 2011 - Ark Therapeutics Group plc (‘Ark’ or the ‘Company’) today publishes its interim management statement for the period from 1 January 2011 to date. The Company intends to report its results for the six months to 30 June 2011 on 24 August 2011.
In March the sale of the majority of the woundcare business to Crawford Healthcare Ltd was completed, providing further cash to enable the Company to meet its short term goals and allowing the Company’s management to focus exclusively on its core assets.
A major focus of the Company is to exploit our world leading cGMP Biosafety level 2 certified manufacturing facility in Kuopio Finland. A feature of the year to date has been the increase in the number of companies approaching Ark which are interested in using the Company’s bio-manufacturing capability. A review by a leading independent consultant endorsed the value of our Finnish operations to third parties for cell culture-based manufacture of live viral products such as gene therapies and vaccines. The Company has continued detailed discussions with a number of interested parties.
Neuropilin-1 Receptor Antagonists (EG014) - this is a programme developing small molecule antagonists to the neuropilin-1 receptor (NRP-1) for treatment of cancer. Potent drug-like compounds have been generated and these have demonstrated in vivo efficacy both in slowing of tumour growth and reducing tumour vascularisation. Good progress has continued to be made in lead optimisation, assisted by crystallographic analysis of antagonist-receptor structures. The pharmacokinetic properties of candidate antagonists have also been markedly improved and the Company is conducting further in vivo studies of efficacy in different tumour models. A number of major pharmaceutical companies have shown interest in this programme and discussions continue.
Refractory Angina (EG011) – this product is being developed using Ark’s established adenoviral platform to deliver VEGF-D for treating patients suffering from refractory angina. The programme is currently in an initial academic clinical study in Finland. Recruitment into the low dose arm of the study has been completed, and several patients have now been treated with the high dose. Following the recent opening of a second site it is envisaged that the dose ranging part of this study will be completed during 2011, providing initial data which could be used in progressing the interest from other companies in this programme.
Peripheral Vascular Disease (EG016) - this product also uses Ark’s established adenoviral platform to deliver VEGF-D and is designed to improve the outcome for people undergoing bypass procedures to overcome blockage of the main blood vessel to the lower leg. A number of patients have been recruited into an initial academic clinical study the results from which will be used to form the basis of formal development programmes with partners.
Foetal Growth Restriction (FGR) (EG013) - Ark’s adenoviral gene therapy platform is used in this product to restore adequate maternal vascularisation where foetuses are suffering severe growth restriction as a result of a deficient blood supply. Pre-clinical efficacy of the concept has been successfully demonstrated, including demonstration of positive effects on foetal growth rate leading to improvements in birth weight and other health parameters of newborns. Ark scientists are now preparing the techniques required for toxicology studies necessary to obtain approval to initiate clinical trials.
Work continues to identify a suitable partner to complete the clinical development for Cerepro® which the Company believes can provide a clinical benefit to patients.
Board and Management
As announced in February, David Bloxham was appointed Non-Executive Director following Andrew Christie’s planned departure from the Board in March 2011. Also in February we announced that Russell Banks had joined the Company as Chief Financial Officer.
We reported in our full-year results announcement on 9 March 2011 that the Company had £10.6m in cash and money market investments at 31 December 2010. The Board reviews detailed cash forecasts on a regular basis, which take into account different scenarios regarding the development and commercialisation of the Group’s products and the performance of manufacturing services, together with the different cost infrastructures necessary to support these various scenarios. There have been no significant changes in the financial position of the Company in the period since publication of the results for the year ended 31 December 2010.
Martyn Williams, CEO of Ark, commented:
"In our strategic restructuring announcement of 9 September 2010, we identified a number of short term objectives and were pleased to deliver on the first of these, the sale of the majority of our wound care business, in the period. We have seen real progress across all our activities and believe we are well placed to deliver on the remaining objectives we have set ourselves for this year."
Ark Therapeutics Group plc
Tel: +44 (0)20 7388 7722
Martyn Williams, Chief Executive Officer
Iain Ross, Executive Chairman
Tel: +44 (0)20 7831 3113
Ben Atwell/Sue Quigley
Ark Therapeutics Group plc
Ark Therapeutics Group plc is a specialist healthcare group (the "Group") addressing high value areas of unmet medical need within vascular disease and cancer. These are large and growing markets, where opportunities exist for effective new products to generate significant revenues.
Ark has an early stage pipeline emanating from collaborations with University College, London and the AI Virtanen Institute in Kuopio, Finland, the development of which it intends to progress in collaboration with pharmaceutical and biotech partners.
In addition Ark has the ability to off-set a proportion of its R&D costs and to generate sustainable revenues through the exploitation of its proprietary technology platform, process development, scale-up and manufacturing capabilities on behalf of third parties.
Ark has its origins in businesses established in the mid-1990s by Professor John Martin and Mr Stephen Barker of University College London and Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala of the AI Virtanen Institute at the University of Kuopio, Finland, all of whom remain consultants on the Company's research and development programmes.
Ark's shares were first listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2004 (AKT.L).