Join +750K new investors every month who copy stock picks from billionaire's portfoliosSign Up Free

Earnings call: BiomX reports Q1 2024 results, optimistic on phage therapies

EditorNatashya Angelica
Published 05/21/2024, 11:44 AM
© Reuters.
PHGE
-

BiomX Inc. (NYSE: NYSE:PHGE), a biotechnology company specializing in phage-based therapies, has announced its first-quarter 2024 financial results, highlighting the completion of its merger with Adaptive Phage Therapeutics and a successful $50 million private placement.

The company's lead candidates, BX004 and BX211, are making significant progress in Phase II trials, with plans to engage with the FDA for BX004 and to release top-line results for both candidates in 2025. Despite the challenges of clinical recruitment, BiomX remains positive about its future, with sufficient funding to continue operations through the fourth quarter of 2025.

Key Takeaways

  • BiomX completed a merger with Adaptive Phage Therapeutics, enhancing its product pipeline.
  • The company secured $50 million from a private placement, extending its cash runway through Q4 2025.
  • BX004 and BX211 are advancing in Phase II trials, with top-line results expected in 2025.
  • A Type C meeting with the FDA for BX004 is planned for mid-2024, with a study protocol submission by year-end.
  • The cash balance as of March 31, 2024, was $44.1 million, which is adequate until late 2025.
  • Recruitment for BX004 has been challenging but is improving, while BX211 has enrolled 70% of its study participants.
  • BiomX is focusing on sequencing to ensure its phage products meet FDA requirements.

Company Outlook

  • BiomX is confident in reaching critical clinical milestones through 2025.
  • The integration of APT's manufacturing capabilities is proceeding smoothly.

Bearish Highlights

  • There is a risk that stockholders may not approve the conversion of convertible preferred stock from the APT merger.
  • BX004 has faced challenges in patient recruitment, necessitating the inclusion of more clinical sites.

Bullish Highlights

  • The merger with APT positions BiomX as a leader in phage-based therapeutics.
  • BX004 and BX211 are on track, with positive recruitment progress and study advancement.

Misses

  • The company did not mention any specific financial misses, such as earnings or revenue shortfalls.

Q&A Highlights

  • BiomX may extend the Phase 2 study for BX004 if patient conversion is observed.
  • The company is ensuring that phage products do not contain lysogeny genes through sequencing and testing.
  • BiomX is working closely with the CF Foundation to design the Phase 2b study for cystic fibrosis.

In summary, BiomX has demonstrated a commitment to advancing its phage therapy candidates and has taken strategic steps to ensure financial stability and operational integration post-merger. The company remains cautiously optimistic about overcoming the recruitment challenges and meeting the FDA's requirements for its phage products. Investors and stakeholders can expect further updates throughout the year as BiomX progresses with its clinical studies and regulatory engagements.

InvestingPro Insights

BiomX Inc. (NYSE: PHGE) has been navigating through a transformative period with strategic initiatives aimed at advancing its phage therapy candidates. In the backdrop of these developments, it's essential to look at the company's financial health and market performance for a well-rounded perspective.

InvestingPro Data reveals a market capitalization of $17.84 million, reflecting the company's current valuation in the market. Despite the optimistic clinical progress, BiomX is trading at a high Price / Book multiple of 5.79 as of the last twelve months ending Q4 2023, which may suggest that the stock is priced optimistically relative to the company's book value.

Furthermore, the company's operating income shows a significant deficit, with an adjusted figure of -$25.35 million for the same period, underscoring the financial challenges it faces.

From a performance standpoint, BiomX has had a strong return over the last three months, with a 52.16% price total return, showcasing investor confidence in the short term. This contrasts with a 6-month price total return of -14.49%, indicating some volatility and potential uncertainty over a longer horizon.

InvestingPro Tips highlight several critical aspects for potential investors to consider. BiomX is quickly burning through cash, which aligns with the reported operating income deficit. Moreover, the company suffers from weak gross profit margins and is not expected to be profitable this year, as analysts do not anticipate a turnaround in net income. These factors are crucial for investors who are evaluating the risk profile and growth prospects of BiomX.

For those interested in a deeper analysis, InvestingPro offers more tips, including insights into the company's price volatility, debt levels, and potential valuation concerns related to free cash flow yield. In total, there are 11 additional InvestingPro Tips available for BiomX, which can be accessed by visiting https://www.investing.com/pro/PHGE. To enrich your investment strategy with these insights, use the coupon code PRONEWS24 to get an additional 10% off a yearly or biyearly Pro and Pro+ subscription.

In summary, while BiomX Inc. shows promising clinical developments, the InvestingPro Insights suggest that investors should carefully weigh the financial metrics and market performance against the company's clinical advancements and strategic moves.

Full transcript - Biomx Inc (PHGE) Q1 2024:

Operator: Hello and welcome to the BiomX first quarter 2024 financial results. If anyone should require Operator assistance, please press star, zero on your telephone keypad. A question and answer session will follow the formal presentation. You may be placed into the question queue at any time by pressing star, one. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. It is now my pleasure to turn the call over to CFO, Avi Gabay. Please go ahead, Avi.

Avi Gabay: Thank you and welcome to the BiomX first quarter 2024 financial results and corporate update conference call. The press release became available just after 6:30 am Eastern time today and can be found on our website at www.BiomX.com. A replay of this call will also be available on the Investors section of our website. Before we begin, I’d like to review the Safe Harbor provision. All statements on this call that are not factually historical statements may be deemed forward-looking statements. For instance, we are using forward-looking statements when we discuss on the conference call the sufficiency of the combined company’s financing, potential stockholder approval of certain matters related to the securities issued and related matters in connection with the Adaptive Phage Therapeutics, or APT merger, potential market opportunities, the ability to drive value for stockholders, the design, equipment, aim, expected timing, and interim and final results of our preclinical and clinical trial, the regulatory process and discussions with the FDA, the potential benefits and commercial opportunities of our product candidate and the potential safety and efficacy of BX004 and BX211. In addition, past and current preclinical and clinical results as well as compassionate use are not indicative and do not guarantee future success of our clinical trials. Except as required by law, we do not undertake to update forward-looking statements. The full Safe Harbor provision, including risks that could cause actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements are outlined in today’s press release, which as noted earlier is on our website. Joining me on the call this morning is Jonathan Solomon, Chief Executive Officer of BiomX. With that, I’ll turn the call over to Jonathan.

Jonathan Solomon: Good morning everyone. For the first time, BiomX is reporting results for our combined entity following our merger with APT in March, and Avi will elaborate more on this. Overall, the first quarter of 2024 was nothing less than transformational for BiomX. The company has now entered into a new ear. With the merger with APT in March, we have expanded our mid-clinical stage programs which we believe constitute the leading phage-related pipeline in the industry. We are now advancing diverse approaches focused on developing natural phage cocktails and personalized phage treatments. With the recent merger, we’ve added a second Phase II product candidate, BX211, for the treatment of diabetic foot osteomyelitis, or DFO, and I’ll review our progress shortly. BX004, our most advanced mid-clinical stage candidate has already shown what we believe are promising clinical results supporting the potential of phage therapy to treatment harmful bacteria underlying serious chronic infections in cystic fibrosis, or CF patients. The broadening of our pipeline, the diversity of our approaches and the data we’ve seen to date are all key in reducing risk inherent in biotech development. Concurrently with the merger with APT, we raised $50 million of gross proceeds in a private placement led by affiliates of Deerfield Management and the AMR fund, with the participation of additional existing and new investors, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, OrbiMed, and Nantahala Capital Management. These important and accredited life sciences investors provide further validation for the potential of phage therapy as a new therapeutic modality and the strength of our lead candidates, each having the potential to advance the standard of care in their respective disease areas. Including net proceeds from the financing and our existing capital, BiomX now expects to have sufficient funding to reach multiple important clinical milestones through 2025, including expected data read-outs for our lead candidates, BX211 and BX004 in the first quarter of 2025 and the third quarter of 2025 respectively. We believe these Phase II data read-outs could potentially drive significant value for our stockholders. We are thrilled with the continuing progress of both of our Phase II programs. On our last earnings call, I had the opportunity to take a deep dive into BX211 as part of the merger with APT. As a reminder, BX211 is a personalized phage treatment being evaluated in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled multi-center Phase II trial for subjects with DFO associated with staphylococcus aureus. This is an area of high unmet need. Each year, there is a staggering number of approximately 160,000 lower limb amputations in diabetic patients in the U.S. alone, 85% of which are caused by DFO according to the Centers for Disease Control and the literature. We believe that phage-based therapeutic approaches have the potential to greatly improve treatment outcomes in DFO. Reports in the scientific literature of compassionate use with phage therapy have shown that 11 of 12 cases resulted in positive outcomes of wound healing and avoiding amputation. Findings from these cases played an important role in the design of the ongoing Phase II of BX211. With a targeted enrolment of 45 patients, the trial has already surpassed 70% for this target and we remain on track to report on the Week 13 treatment results in the first quarter of 2025. We are also excited by the progress of BX004, our other lead mid-clinical stage candidate. BX004 is a fixed multi-phage cocktail for the treatment of CF patients with chronic pulmonary infections caused by pseudomonas aeriuginosa, a main contributor to the morbidity and mortality in these patients. In January this year, we were granted orphan drug designation by the FDA for BX004. More recently, in April we presented positive safety and efficacy results on Part 2 of the Phase Ib/2a trial of BX004 at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease, or ESCMID Global Congress. In fact, our presentation was selected as a top poster, ranking among the top first/second percentile of top-rated abstracts in the category submitted and accepted at the Congress. We believe that the data for BX004 are the most promising advanced findings published to date for phage therapy for the treatment of chronic pulmonary infections in CF patients. We’ve shown with BX004 both conversion to sputum culture negative for pseudomonas aeriuginosa in 14.3% of patients and demonstrated signals of improved pulmonary function after only 10 days of treatment, both findings in contrast to results in placebo. Under a Phase 2b trial, we now plan to treat for a much longer treatment duration of two months, which we believe has the potential to demonstrate a more pronounced effect on both micrological and lung functional read-outs. As previously reported, by mid-2024 we anticipate holding a Type C meeting with the FDA to discuss a clinical development plan for BX004. Pending alignment with the FDA and completion of the remaining CMC work, our plan is to submit a Phase 2b study protocol to all relevant regulatory authorities and initiate the study by the end of this year. As already noted, we estimate releasing top line results in the study in the third quarter of 2025. We are thrilled to have what we believe is the broadest and most advanced phage pipeline with promising data already reported and key read-outs from Phase II studies in both our lead programs in 2025. On this final note, I’ll now pass it over to Avi to review our first quarter 2024 financial results. Avi?

Avi Gabay: Thank you Jonathan. As a reminder, the financial information is available in the press release we issued earlier today and also in more detail in our Form 10-Q that was filed yesterday. I will walk you through some of our brief highlights. As of March 31, 2024, cash balance and short term deposits were $44.1 million compared to $30.3 million as of March 31, 2023. The increase was primarily due to the private placement which was partially offset by net cash-using operating activities and the repayment of the debt facility in March 2024. The company estimates its cash, cash equivalents and short term deposits are sufficient to fund its operations throughout the fourth quarter of 2025. In the first quarter of 2024, research and development expenses net totaled $4.1 million compared to $4.6 million in the first quarter of 2023, mainly because of less expenses due to the end of the CF clinical trial, and was partially offset by a lower grants payment from the Israeli Innovation Authority and R&D expenses related to APT that were incurred after the merger. General and administrative expenses were $2.7 million for the first quarter of 2024 compared to $1.6 million for the same period in 2023. The increase was primarily due to expenses related to the merger with APT and the concurrent private placement. Net loss for the first quarter of 2024 was $17.3 million compared to $6.4 million for the first quarter of 2023. The increase was mainly due to change to fair value of private placement warrants that were issued in this quarter. Net cash-using operating activities for the first quarter of 2024 was $11.4 million compared to $5 million for the same period in 2023. On March 15, 2024, we closed the merger with APT concurrent with an investment of $50 million. We would like to emphasize that although after the financing we believe we will have sufficient cash, cash equivalents and short-term deposits to fund our current operating plan at least 12 months, our financial statements contain an explanatory paragraph regarding substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. This is mainly due to the potential risk of our stockholders not approving the conversion of the convertible preferred stock that was issued as part of the merger with APT and the concurrent investment. Now I’ll turn the call back over to Jonathan for his closing remarks. Jonathan?

Jonathan Solomon: We’ve accomplished a lot so far in 2024, and we’re looking forward to the continuing substantial momentum at BiomX this year and into 2025. With recent developments, BiomX has set itself apart as a leader in developing phage-based therapeutics. The merger and $50 million investment from top institutional and healthcare investors allowed us to expand our pipeline and has positioned us to achieve key data read-outs next year. By advancing our BX004 and BX211 clinical programs, our company is poised to build significant value for our stockholders as at the recent ESCMID Congress, our team will continue to seek important opportunities to present in peer-reviewed forums. Based on our recent financing, we believe the company has sufficient cash runway to reach additional important clinical milestones as we advance our phage candidates addressing serious chronic infections. Indeed, it is a new era for BiomX.

Operator: Thank you. We’ll now be conducting a question and answer session. [Operator instructions] Our first question today is coming from Joe Pantginis from HC Wainwright. Your line is now live.

Joe Pantginis: Hey guys, good morning and good afternoon. Thanks for taking the questions. Two questions, Jonathan. First, for the upcoming Phase 2b in CF, I was just curious - I mean, even since your year-end call or what have you, have you been talking to additional physicians and KOLs? Has there been any additional evolution in your thinking about the design of the study, inclusion criteria, etc. going into your Type C meeting? Then the second question is how are your integration efforts going with regard to the varying manufacturing facilities? Thanks a lot.

Jonathan Solomon: Good morning Joe, and thank you for the great questions, as always. First on the CF study, we’ve spent quite a lot of time analyzing the data and working hand in hand with the CF Foundation, so I think we have a good handle on the design of the Phase 2b, trying to address some of the questions that we’ve discussed and trying, obviously, to increase the percentage of patients that experience conversion and get even clearer signals on both microbiology as well as clinical endpoint. I think that has matured. Again, I think we’re waiting for the FDA meeting and we’ll see kind of where the feedback is. If all is according to plan, then I think we’re locked and loaded to initiate the study at the end of the year. So far, I think--again, there was a lot of work upfront, so I think we feel good about it. The integrations, so I’m now in sunny D.C. - by the way, the weather is gorgeous, and it’s definitely not a simple task to integrate these two companies, but I think as time goes, the rationale kind of plays out, so I do think it plays into APT’s strengths in terms of the manufacturing capability, the access to the compassionate cases, the knowledge, access to governmental agencies, so I think all of those are strengths that, quite frankly, BiomX lacked, so I think it’s proceeding well. Like every integration, it’s not simple, but there’s been a lot of effort, the teams have been traveling quite extensively, and now I think we feel that the situation has stabilized and there’s very clear work plans, budgets approved, and we’re ready to go, so crossing our fingers to kind of continue the momentum and, again, generate more value.

Joe Pantginis: Appreciate the comments. Thanks Jonathan.

Jonathan Solomon: Pleasure, as always.

Operator: Thank you. The next question is coming from Yale Jen from Laidlaw & Company. Your line is now live.

Yale Jen: Good afternoon, and thanks for taking the questions. Congratulations, Jonathan. I’ve got two questions here. The first one is a follow-up with Joe’s question, which is that in terms of the Phase II study of [indiscernible], would that be potentially adding an extension part after the trial was done, so a patient can get longer treatment? That’s one, and then I have a follow-up.

Jonathan Solomon: Okay, so I think the Phase II is already quite a long duration, right - we’re going for two months, and we will follow up with patients and think about whether we extend if we’re seeing conversion. I think these are items that we’re discussing. I think a lot depends on feedback from the FDA. There will be a longer follow-up for sure. I do think there’s a chance to also explore extending it. Definitely, I think we’ll want to extend to some extent in the patient that experienced conversion to kind of see how long can we keep the bug at bay, so I think that would be very dramatic, so it’s definitely one of the items that we’re discussing. And Yale, I believe you had another question?

Yale Jen: Yes I do. This is a little bit more fundamental question here. As we know that the virus--I’m sorry, the phage has the lytic and the lysogenic space, so how would you ensure all your products are retained as in the lytic space and that that would be the most--that is the functional state of the phage while killing the bacteria? Thanks.

Jonathan Solomon: Yes, it’s a good question, and viruses are--phage are viruses, right, so I do think it’s a valid analogy. By the way, the big conference is like viruses and microbes, the phage conference. I think to your point, the FDA has been very clear on not wanting to advance forward phage which are lysogenic, right, and the way to address it is actually by making sure that all the phage that we deploy, whether in the personalized approach such as the DFO study or in the cocktail, actually don’t have any lysogeny genes, so we sequence everything. Again, these are quite a few genes, so it’s not that a spontaneous single mutation will introduce lysogeny, right? It’s not that we knocked off lysogeny with a single mutation. There’s no lysogenic genes whatsoever, so the probability of a phage acquiring or developing lysogeny genes is negligible. That’s the approach - again, sequencing, making sure that the phage don’t have those capabilities, and it’s all part of the battery of tests, such as generalized transduction and other attributes that the FDA has been very clear on what kind of characteristics they want to see and what characteristics they don’t want to see in a phage product undergoing development.

Yale Jen: Okay, great. That’s very helpful for investors. Again, congrats on all the progress and look forward to [indiscernible].

Jonathan Solomon: Thanks Yale for the kind words.

Operator: Thank you. The next question today is coming from Michael Higgins from Ladenburg Thalmann. Your line is now live.

Sohanna: Hi guys, good morning. This is Sohanna [ph] on behalf of Michael. Congrats on your continued progress. Two questions from us. The first one, BX004, can you confirm with us that aligning with the EMA is also in 2024? The second question is on BX211, any gating factors to completing enrolment in the Phase II DFO study?

Jonathan Solomon: Good morning, and good questions. Just to make sure regarding the first question, you mean like the European compliance of BX004?

Sohanna: Yes.

Jonathan Solomon: Got it, okay, so all good questions. Again, BX004, going after CF, orphan indication. As we’ve talked through the years, recruitment is not trivial. We struggled a bit in the Part 1 and then I think then we gained a lot of momentum in the Part 2, but that already was a global study, right, so already in the Part 2 of the Phase 2a, we had U.S. sites, European sites, as well as Israeli sites, so that’s going to continue. I think we’re looking at much more sites in the second study, or the Phase 2b. Definitely Europe is going to be key, I think there is--we’ve experienced, I think, very good recruitment in the U.S. and we’ll definitely continue with that, so that’s in the works and part of the work plan and the timelines that we’ve presented. BX211, enrolment is going well, as we reported this morning - 70% of patients have been enrolled. Again, I think these studies are not trivial, it’s a complex indication. We want to verify that the patients have the bacteria. We’re deploying the page bank, so that means that we shipped basically phage to our sites, we optimize the best phage for that patient and we ship it back, and that’s the treatment that the patient gets. We have seen challenges - again, there’s a lot of experience in the system by now with these studies, so I think we’ve learned a lot. We will put some effort even to try to, if we can, improve recruitment rates, but so far it’s going well and it’s meeting our expectations. Clinical studies are always difficult, so let’s just hope it continues the way it has.

Sohanna: Thank you.

Operator: Thank you. We have reached the end of our question and answer session. I’d like to turn the floor back over for any further or closing comments.

Jonathan Solomon: Thank you again everyone for joining us this morning. We look forward to providing you with updates throughout the year, and have a great day. Thank you.

Operator: Thank you. That does conclude today’s teleconference and webcast. You may disconnect your line at this time and have a wonderful day. We thank you for your participation today.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.