Original-Research: Defence Therapeutics Inc. - von GBC AG
Einstufung von GBC AG zu Defence Therapeutics Inc.
Unternehmen: Defence Therapeutics Inc.
Anlass der Studie: Management Interview
Empfehlung: Management Interview
Analyst: Julien Desrosiers
'We can work on any disease and adapt to any emergent pandemic such as the
one related to SARS-CoV2'
In its current letter to shareholders, Defence Therapeutics reports the
successful completion of its protein-based COVID vaccine (AccuVAC-PT001)
toxicology studies in non-rodent rabbit model. The AccuVAC-PT001 vaccine is
an injectable vaccine capable of inducing a powerful and sustainable
antibody response in both rodent and non-rodent models. The vaccine
proprietary recipe consists of chemically modifying the COVID Spike protein
with the AccumTM moiety. Defence Therapeutics is currently working on two
different protein-based vaccine candidates. In Parallel, the company
continues the development of their ACCUMTM based cancer treatment R&D. GBC
analyst Julien Desrosiers spoke with Defence Therapeutics CEO Sébastien
GBC AG: For investors that have never heard about Defence Therapeutics, can
you explain what is at the center of your company?
Sébastien Plouffe: The highlight of Defence is that it has a proprietary
technology platform with very wide versatility application. For instance,
our AccumTM molecule can be linked to any protein, RNA or DNA molecules and
thus, can be used to target any type of cancer or infectious diseases.
Although the company's main approach was to focus on ADCs, we quickly
applied the AccumTM technology to fight a common and recent pandemic. In
other words, we can work on any disease and adapt to any emergent pandemic
such as the one related to SARS-CoV2.
GBC AG: How did your company become involved in the ACCUMTM story and
secured the rights?
Sébastien Plouffe: I was looking to acquire a strong technology in the
Biotech sector and in 2016, I was introduced to the AccumTm technology. We
were immediately impressed by its huge versatility and potential that we
have decided to option it. Defence completed the acquisition in May 2020
and since we are actively working to test and develop all kinds of
applications and studies against cancer and infectious diseases.
GBC AG: With the ACCUMTM technology, you are currently focusing on two main
development models: ACCUMTM Technology and ACCUMTM Vaccine. Can you
describe in which development stage are the two pathways and in what way
Sébastien Plouffe: The AccumTM technology is based on the fact that a given
molecule can be modified with a small moiety (called the AccumTM) to
enhance its accumulation in target cells. For example, we can attach the
AccumTM on an ADC to enhance its accumulation in target cell or attach it
to an antigen and deliver it very efficiently to an antigen presenting cell
(example dendritic cells) to prime an immune response.
GBC AG: ADC (anti body drug conjugate) are usually tailored made to act on
one specific target. They are developed with the triptych concept of
Protein, Linker and Payload. These three must play their role in perfect
harmony to impact the desired target. How can ACCUMTM circumvent this
Sébastien Plouffe: In fact, AccumTM does not interfere with the function of
any of these components. On the contrary, it works in concert with them by
enhancing the function of that given ADC. In other words, AccumTM does not
block or mitigate the linker, payload activity or antibody specificity. It
just makes sure that the entire package escapes the endosome and makes it
to the intracellular target.
GBC AG: Can you specifically discuss the latest success you have achieved
Sébastien Plouffe: We are developing a large pipeline of products. The
AccumTM is being used to develop: i) a DC vaccine targeting 4 different
indications (melanoma, breast cancer, lymphoma and colon cancer), ii) an
ADC against breast cancer, iii) the use of the 'naked' AccumTM molecule as
an anti-cancer molecule against breast cancer, iv) two different COVID
vaccines including one intranasal, and v) two vaccines targeting HPV and
GBC AG: ADC's FDA approval failure have two main causes: Toxicity and
complexity of the ADCs manufacturing challenges. What can we expect from
ACCUMTM regarding these two main issues?
Sébastien Plouffe: The AccumTM will be applied to an ADC that is already
available on the market. We have evidence (using Trastuzumab for example)
that AccumTM does not increase the toxicity of the ADC. On the contrary! By
improving its potency, the potency of the ADCs can be enhanced by lowering
the dosing or shortening the regimen as it would need less of the ADC to
achieve strong outcomes. As such, the toxicity of the product would be
GBC AG: ADC are very difficult to manufacture and need exclusive equipment,
labs and require a very complex supply chain. As you are currently in the
process of selecting a manufacturing partner, and how has the COVID crisis
changed your expectations and requirements in terms of manufacturing
processes as well as securing the supply chain.
Sébastien Plouffe: In fact, we are working on two different models. In the
first model, we wish to develop the ADC program in partnership with a large
pharma as AccumTM can be used to enhance ANY ADC. In parallel, we are
working on developing our own ADC with self-cleavable linkers and AccumTM
moieties as a cleavable payload on their own. We are aware that the
pandemic is delaying all steps of development, but we are actively working
to bypass each of these obstacles by planning our objectives and key steps
GBC AG: What team of scientists are driving the two pathways and where is
the research conducted?
Sébastien Plouffe: We have an established collaboration with the laboratory
of Dr. Moutih Rafei, our VP - Research and Development (Université de
Montréal) who is an immunologist by training and has extensive experience
in the fields of cell therapy, immune-oncology and infectious diseases. In
addition, our co-inventor of the technology, Dr. Simon Beaudoin, a
biochemist by training with a strong expertise in immuno-conjugation and
optimization of ADCs, is actively working on the continued development of
the AccumTM technology at our laboratories located in Montreal (CQIB) and
at Sherbrooke. We are currently expanding our scientific team.
GBC AG: As you described ACCUMTM to be scalable and versatile, how will you
select which type of decease you will focus on?
Sébastien Plouffe: We have already established our target indications. We
will be working towards a treatment for melanoma, breast cancer, COVID and
HPV. These indications were selected strategically using three different
criteria: i) the widespread of the indication/cancer, ii) absence of a
potent treatment/cure, and iii) the possibility of using our products in
combination with commercially-available immune-checkpoint blockers.
GBC AG: Can you explain us how your latest press release is a game changer
for Defence Therapeutics and how well you are financed at the moment?
Sébastien Plouffe: The versatility of the AccumTM technology is a game
changer by itself as it allows us to develop a wide range of products
targeting different indications. Defence's strategy is to initiate a
minimum of 2 Phase I trials in 2022 and to co-develop some products in
partnership with large pharmas. We are currently well financed, and we may
come to the market in Q1 of 2022 to increase our liquidity to achieve more
goals before our venue to the NASDAQ planned for Q2 of 2022.
GBC: Mr. Plouffe, thank you for the interview.
Note: GBC initiates Coverage with this management interview and is working
on the initial coverage report.
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Date (time) of completion: 06/12/2021 (8:00 am)
Date (time) of first distribution: 06/12/2021 (10:00 am)
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