Milestones Expected In the 2H19
1- Interim phase 1/2 data in pancreatic cancer 3Q19.
2- First update on ongoing solid tumor clinical trials 3Q19.
3- Submitting an investigational new drug application (IND) for a company sponsored Phase 2 clinical trial in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in 3Q19. Phase 1 data was discussed in the above comparison with Kite Pharma. The first patient should be dosed by the end of the year.
4- Interim phase 2 of TPIV200 as a maintenance treatment for patients with ovarian cancer who are in their first remission. The study completed enrollment in January 2019. The interim-analysis is triggered by disease progression of 55 patients. Data is expected to be reported in 4Q19.
5. An overall update on MRKR’s cell therapy programs is expected by the end of the year.
With $58 million in cash and a burn rate of only $5.7 million 1Q19 MRKR is in a strong financial position ( view latest 10-Q here). Moreover, total liabilities was only $3.4 million as of March 31st, 2019. In light of the fact that they have 14-ongoing clinical studies, with more underway, I’d say that is an impressive feat. How do they do it?- Through collaborating with high caliber institutions such as the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), the Mayo Clinic, and the Department of Defense (DoD). As of now the only trial sponsored by MRKR is a phase 2 study in ovarian cancer. As the pipeline progresses, though, I imagine more of the financial burden will fall on MRKR. If not, it begs the question: What commercial rights and or autonomy must they concede?
Under current cash flow conditions MRKR should not need to raise money until 3Q20. Furthermore, the company has only 25.5 million shares float out of 45.58 million outstanding. With stats like that it comes as no surprise that there is high insider and institutional ownership (32% and 43%, respectfully). Of note, Perceptive Advisors, which as we know is reputed as a successful biotech firm, and the a largest institutional investor of ADMA Biologics (ADMA), owns 4%. Baker Bros, another respected investment firm, owns 3%.