It’s hard to imagine a 21¢ stock with more going on than Immune Pharmaceuticals (IMNP)! The company is really trying in my opinion. There have clearly been past struggles, but I have no issues with the current strategy. That said, I see and hear confusion on the strategy. Immune has three distinct franchises, a pain franchise, an oncology franchise, and bertilimumab. It is difficult to secure funding when you are 21¢ and $30-35 million market cap with such a large pipeline; Immune has several assets beyond bertilimumab. So management’s strategy is to create subsidiaries that can be separately funded and eventually spun-off, with Immune holding ownership stakes in each. Maxim was the first spin-off and took with it all the pain assets, including AmiKet. Cytovia is up next, and will house Ceplene, Azixa, crolibulin, nanomabs, and the bi-specific platform with several drug candidates. It is not clear yet if the topical nano-cyclosporine program in psoriasis and atopic dermatitis will be funded through Immune or support a fourth subsidiary / spin off.
On Maxim – An initial $5 million funding with the potential to bring in an additional $10-15 million as the Phase 3 trial starts. The pre-money valuation was $15 million, so if Immune secures $15 million in total funding, shareholders will own 50% of Maxim and will be eligible for additional milestone and royalty payments. The management team led by Joe Pergolizzi, MD, seems impressive and according to management, additional assets are being considered for in-licensing. Maxim's goal is to become a leading pain specialty company and eventually come public.
On Cytovia – Management is out now looking to secure funding. We do not know the pre-money valuation of Cytovia, but with Ceplene, Azixa, crolibulin, nanomabs, and the bi-specific platform with several drug candidates, it could easily be $40-50 million. There are numerous additional transactions that investors will see with Cytovia over the next few months. This will be an interesting company to watch.
On Bertilimumab – The Phase 2 BP trial is enrolling – initially slowly because of the very restrictive inclusion criteria, but now accelerating after the first few patients. I know the CEO and the CMO are confident and because this is an open-label trial, data could really come at any time. I think we hear something in the second quarter 2017. The UC trial seems to be going well and I’m hoping we see data there around the middle of the year. A third program in severe atopic dermatitis (AD) is expected to start this fall. With bertilimumab, Immune is looking to compete with the impressive results of Regneron’s dipulumab in AD. A fourth program in NASH is anticipated with an oral formulation of bertilimumab. Last year, Immune filed a provisional patent on this candidate.
It also sounds like DGF is all out of the stock, so there is much less selling pressure and the company just recently secured up to $11 million through an ATM. The company has requested a hearing with NASDAQ following the non-compliance letter issued by NASDAQ. This is a several month process, so I do not expect a reverse split before Q2. This gives an opportunity for stock recovery if we see positive new and thus potentially a much smaller reverse split. Hopefully, better times are ahead of Immune shareholders.
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