Meet Some of the Physicians
and Cervical Spinal Cord
Injury Patients in the
AST-OPC1 Clinical Trial
 

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May 16, 2016
Asterias Biotherapeutics Reports First Quarter Results

-FDA Clears Expansion of AST-OPC1 Clinical Trial in Spinal Cord Injury-

-Capital Resources Now in Place to Fund AST-OPC1 Clinical Trial Expansion and Continue Progress on Cancer Immunotherapy Programs-

-Conference Call and Webcast Today, May 16, at 4:30 p.m. ET-

FREMONT, Calif., May 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: AST), a biotechnology company with three clinical-stage development programs focused on the emerging field of regenerative medicine, today reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2016. The company also announced plans to expand the AST-OPC1 Phase 1/2a trial in spinal cord injury patients following recent clearance for the expansion by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on the favorable safety profile observed so far with AST-OPC1 in the current study.

"Recent FDA clearance for expanding the AST-OPC1 clinical study in spinal cord injury patients and the recent capital raise needed to fund this expansion are key developments for Asterias," said Steve Cartt, President and Chief Executive Officer.  "This important trial expansion should increase the statistical confidence of the safety and efficacy readouts, expand the range of spinal cord injury patients being evaluated, and better position the product for a potential accelerated regulatory pathway should we observe positive efficacy signals and continued safety in the study." 

 

Mr. Cartt continued, "In addition, the capital we recently raised, despite the very challenging capital markets, significantly strengthened our cash position.  Combined with continued non-dilutive funding from leading scientific institutions, this will allow Asterias to immediately progress our three clinical-stage programs toward important milestones targeted for late 2016 and into 2017."

As of May 15, 2016, the company's cash, cash equivalents and available-for-sale securities totaled over $33 million.  This includes a recent $2.5 million grant payment from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) related to progress in the ongoing AST-OPC1 study. 

Corporate Highlights

  • On May 13, 2016, Asterias raised approximately $16.2 million in net proceeds from a public offering of shares of its common stock and warrants.  Asterias has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 772,059 shares of common stock and/or additional warrants to purchase up to 386,029 shares of common stock to cover over-allotments, if any. The underwriters exercised their over-allotment option to purchase 386,029 additional warrants. If the over-allotment option to purchase the additional shares is exercised in full, additional net proceeds from the offering to Asterias will be approximately $2.4 million.
  • In April, Howard I. Scher M.D., one of the world's leading oncology experts, was appointed to the Board of Directors of Asterias. Dr. Scher is internationally recognized for his expertise in clinical oncology. He has extensive experience in the design of clinical trials for novel anti-cancer agents, including monoclonal antibodies and other biologic therapies, cytotoxics, and drugs that target specific signaling pathways.

Research and Development Highlights

AST-OPC1 (oligodendrocyte progenitor cells)

  • Patient recruitment is ongoing for the second cohort in a Phase 1/2a clinical trial of AST-OPC1 in complete cervical spinal cord injury, in which five patients will be administered a dose of 10 million AST-OPC1 cells.  This cohort is the first of two dose cohorts receiving doses in the predicted efficacious range based on preclinical studies. Asterias has been granted FDA clearance to expand patient enrollment in the Phase 1/2a clinical trial from 13 patients to up to 35 patients, based on the continued favorable safety profile observed in the ongoing clinical study. The company believes that the trial expansion should increase the statistical confidence of the safety and efficacy readouts, expand the range of spinal cord injury patients being evaluated, and better position the product for a potential accelerated regulatory pathway should the company observe positive efficacy signals and continued safety in the study. This trial is being funded in part by a $14.3 million grant from CIRM.
  • In February, the FDA granted Orphan Drug Designation for AST-OPC1 for the treatment of acute spinal cord injury. Orphan Drug Designation qualifies the sponsor of the drug certain benefits and incentives, including seven years of marketing exclusivity following regulatory approval, and financial incentives such as potential tax credits for certain activities and waiver of certain administrative fees.
  • In April, Asterias presented an overview of the AST-OPC1 therapeutic development program in spinal cord injury at the American Spinal Injury Association Annual Meeting and at the Stem Cell Summit 2016 meeting.

AST-VAC1 (antigen-presenting autologous dendritic cells)

  • In February, Asterias successfully completed the End-of-Phase 2 meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for AST-VAC1, the company's investigational cancer immunotherapy and lead clinical program targeting maintenance of relapse-free-survival in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. The company currently is evaluating plans for progressing the AST-VAC1 program towards a pivotal Phase 3 trial which would begin in late 2017.
  • Clinical data from the Phase 2 trial of AST-VAC1 in AML was presented during an oral session at the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) 19th Annual Meeting on May 5, 2016. The data was first presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

AST-VAC2 (antigen-presenting allogeneic dendritic cells)

  • AST-VAC2 is Asterias' innovative allogeneic (non-patient-specific) immunotherapy product that contains mature dendritic cells derived from pluripotent stem cells. The company's research partner, Cancer Research UK (CRUK), will execute the first clinical trial of AST-VAC2. As part of this partnership, CRUK will perform cGMP manufacture of AST-VAC2 at its Biotherapeutics Development Unit, and will submit a Clinical Trial Authorisation application to the UK regulatory authorities for a Phase 1/2a clinical trial in non-small cell lung cancer. The trial will be sponsored, managed and funded by the CRUK Centre for Drug Development. Asterias anticipates receiving approval from UK regulatory authorities for clinical development of AST-VAC2 by the end of 2016 and beginning enrollment for the Phase 1/2a clinical trial in the first quarter of 2017. The trial will examine the safety, immunogenicity and activity of AST-VAC2 in non-small cell lung cancer patients and could potentially position the product for development in numerous cancer indications.                                                       

First Quarter Financial Update

Total revenues were $1.6 million for the first quarter. Revenues are comprised of grant income as well as royalty revenues on product sales by licensees. Research and development expenses were $6.3 million for the first quarter. General and administrative expenses were $6.3 million for the first quarter. Net loss was $10.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2016, or $0.27 per share, including a deferred income tax benefit of $902,000. For the first quarter, net cash used in operating activities was $4.2 million.

Conference Call and Webcast Details

Asterias will host a conference call and webcast today, May 16, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern / 1:30 p.m. Pacific to discuss the results and corporate developments.

For both "listen-only" participants and those participants who wish to take part in the question-and-answer portion of the call, the dial-in number in the U.S./Canada is 888-572-7025. For international participants outside the U.S./Canada, the dial-in number is 719-325-2463. For all callers, refer to Conference ID 3554654. To access the live webcast, go to http://asteriasbiotherapeutics.com/events-presentations/.

A replay of the conference call will be available for seven business days beginning about two hours after the conclusion of the live call, by calling toll-free (from U.S./Canada) 888-203-1112; international callers dial 719-457-0820. Use the Conference ID 3554654. Additionally, the archived webcast will be available at http://asteriasbiotherapeutics.com/events-presentations/.  

About Asterias Biotherapeutics

Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. is a leading biotechnology company in the emerging field of regenerative medicine. The company's proprietary cell therapy programs are based on its immunotherapy and pluripotent stem cell platform technologies.  Asterias is presently focused on advancing three clinical-stage programs which have the potential to address areas of very high unmet medical need in the fields of oncology and neurology. AST-VAC1 (antigen-presenting autologous dendritic cells) demonstrated promise in a Phase 2 study in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and completed a successful end-of-Phase 2 meeting with the FDA in advance of initiating planning for a single pivotal Phase 3 AML study.  AST-VAC2 (antigen-presenting allogeneic dendritic cells) represents a second generation, allogeneic immunotherapy. The company's research partner, Cancer Research UK, plans to begin a Phase 1/2a clinical trial of AST-VAC2 in non-small cell lung cancer in 2017.  AST-OPC1 (oligodendrocyte progenitor cells) is currently in a Phase 1/2a dose escalation clinical trial in spinal cord injury. Additional information about Asterias can be found at www.asteriasbiotherapeutics.com.  

Forward Looking Statements

Statements pertaining to future financial and/or operating results, future growth in research, technology, clinical development, and potential opportunities for Asterias, along with other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as "will," "believes," "plans," "anticipates," "expects," "estimates") should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and/or commercialization of potential products, uncertainty in the results of clinical trials or regulatory approvals, need and ability to obtain future capital, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the businesses of Asterias, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in Asterias' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Asterias disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

 

ASTERIAS BIOTHERAPEUTICS, INC.


CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(IN THOUSANDS, EXCEPT PER SHARE DATA)



Three months ended March 31, (unaudited)


2016


2015

REVENUE






  Royalties from product sales

$

107


$

102

  Grant income


1,487



677

  Total revenues


1,594



779

  Cost of sales


(53)



(51)

  Total gross profit

$

1,541


$

728







EXPENSES






Research and development

$

(6,343)


$

(3,593)

General and administrative


(6,290)



(1,672)

Total operating expenses


(12,633)



(5,265)







Loss from operations


(11,092)



(4,537)







OTHER EXPENSE






 Interest expense, net


(147)



(20)

Total other expenses


(147)



(20)







LOSS BEFORE INCOME TAX BENEFIT


(11,239)



(4,557)







Deferred income tax benefit


902



1,584







NET LOSS


(10,337)



(2,973)







Other comprehensive loss, net of tax:  Unrealized gain (loss) on available-for-sale securities, net of taxes


(4,448)



3,106







COMPREHENSIVE INCOME/(LOSS)

$

(14,785)


$

133







Basic and diluted net loss per common share

$

(0.27)


$

(0.09)







Weighted average common shares outstanding: basic and diluted


38,304



31,670

 

ASTERIAS BIOTHERAPEUTICS, INC.


CONDENSED BALANCE SHEETS

(IN THOUSANDS, EXCEPT PAR VALUE AMOUNTS)








March 31,

2016

(unaudited)

December 31,

2015

ASSETS






CURRENT ASSETS






Cash and cash equivalents

$

7,568



$

11,183


Available-for-sale securities, at fair value


12,334




17,006


Landlord receivable


-




567


Prepaid expenses and other current assets


1,157




1,033


Total current assets


21,059




29,789










NONCURRENT ASSETS








Intangible assets, net


20,145




20,816


Property, plant and equipment, net


5,539




5,756


Investment in affiliates


-




416


Deferred tax asset


7,870




9,744


Other assets


422




457


TOTAL ASSETS

$

55,035



$

66,978










LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY








CURRENT LIABILITIES








Amount due to parent, BioTime, Inc.

$

833



$

530


Accounts payable


1,906




747


Accrued expenses and other current liabilities


1,152




1,183


Capital lease liability


7




7


Deferred grant income


2,270




2,513


Deferred tax liabilities, current portion


3,947




5,274


Total current liabilities


10,115




10,254










LONG-TERM LIABILITIES








Capital lease liability


25




26


Deferred tax liabilities, net of current portion


6,676




7,020


Deferred rent liability


203




179


Lease liability


4,300




4,400


TOTAL LIABILITIES


21,319




21,879










STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY








Preferred Stock, $0.0001 par value, authorized 5,000 shares; none issued and  outstanding


-




-


Common Stock, authorized 75,000 Series A Common Stock, $0.0001 par value, and 75,000 Series B Common Stock; 38,557 and 38,228 shares Series A Common Stock issued and outstanding at March 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively, no Series B Common Stock issued and outstanding at March 31, 2016 and  December 31, 2015, respectively.


4




4


Additional paid-in capital


96,302




92,900


Accumulated comprehensive gain (loss) on available-for-sale investments


(4,014)




434


Accumulated Deficit


(58,576)




(48,239)


Total stockholders' equity


33,716




45,099


TOTAL LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY

$

55,035



$

66,978


 

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/asterias-biotherapeutics-reports-first-quarter-results-300269334.html

SOURCE Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc.



Asterias Biotherapeutics Tel: (510) 456-3800