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AnaptysBio Inc.'s Lead Candidate Gets New Priorities

By Cory Renauer - Aug 7, 2018 at 6:54PM

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It looks like this biotech's research and development outlay will be peanut-free from now on.

AnaptysBio Inc. (ANAB -4.66%) earnings reports have been fairly uneventful affairs while we wait for results from ongoing studies, but the company was able to let investors know it wouldn't be diverting any more resources toward a peanut allergy indication for its lead candidate after reporting less than thrilling mid-stage results earlier this year.

AnaptysBio Inc. results: The raw numbers

Metric Q2 2018 Q2 2017 Year-Over-Year Change
Revenue N/A $7.0 million N/A
Income from operations ($14.4 million) ($2.6 million) N/A
Earnings per share ($0.57) ($0.13) N/A

Data source: AnaptysBio Inc.

What happened with AnaptysBio this quarter?

  • We can begin calling the company's lead candidate, ANB020, by something with a bit more character. Etokimab is the new name of the company's experimental anti-IL-33 drug.
  • Researchers continued enrolling eczema patients into the phase 2b Atlas study with etokimab. They haven't completed enrolling all 300 patients yet, but management seems confident that the trial will wrap up in the second half of next year.
  • Researchers were able to show all 12 patients treated with etokimab in an earlier trial displayed a 50% or better improvement in eczema severity within 57 days of receiving a single dose.
  • AnaptysBio decided against spending another penny developing etokimab for peanut allergy patients in favor of another disorder with significant unmet need. An estimated 400,000 people affected by chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps need more than standard care. The company will put etokimab up against a placebo in a 100-patient phase 2 study later this year to see if it has legs that can run in this direction. 
  • Healthy patient volunteers took the company's rare disease candidate, ANB019, without displaying any adverse events.
  • The company started a 10-patient study with ANB019 as a treatment for generalized pustular psoriasis that should produce results early next year.
Four people working in a laboratory.

Image source: Getty Images.

What management had to say

Hamza Suria, AnaptysBio's CEO, was happy to outline plenty of activity slated for the months ahead:

We are excited to advance the clinical development of etokimab in large atopic disease markets, including our ongoing Phase 2b ATLAS trial in moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, our ongoing Phase 2a trial in severe eosinophilic asthma and our upcoming Phase 2 ECLIPSE trial in adult chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps. Development of ANB019 in orphan diseases has been initiated with our Phase 2 GALLOP trial in generalized pustular psoriasis and upcoming Phase 2 POPLAR trial in palmoplantar pustulosis. We look forward to the five clinical efficacy readouts anticipated from our etokimab and ANB019 programs by the end of 2019, starting with our upcoming etokimab Phase 2a top-line data in eosinophilic asthma during the third quarter of 2018, as key milestones in our mission to bring novel treatments to patients with severe inflammatory diseases.

Taking plenty of shots on goal is a useful strategy in this uncertain business, but lots of clinical trial activity comes at a price. Cautious biotech investors will be happy to know that AnaptysBio raised enough capital late last year to cover the extra activity even though its big biotech partners, Celgene and Tesaro,haven't contributed any collaboration revenue in 2018.

Looking forward

If results of the Atlas trial fall in line with previous observations, the stock will soar again, but the second half of 2019 is a long time to wait. In the meantime, investors get to look forward to asthma and sinusitis results for etokimab, plus rare disease data for ANB019.

AnaptysBio finished June with $300.6 million in cash and investments, which management thinks is enough to see it through the end of 2019. With five efficacy readouts for its wholly owned candidates expected by the end of next year, there will be plenty of chances for the stock to soar or plummet before management needs to ask for another handout.

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