On June 15, 2020 XPhyto Therapeutics (XPHY.C) announced that its 100% owned German subsidiary, Vektor Pharma, has “successfully incorporated peptide biosensors into its oral dissolvable thin film (ODF) platform.”
This milestone is a quick dividend from a deal announced two months ago.
“We are very pleased to move so quickly from signing the agreement to product development work,” stated Prof. Dr. Thomas Beckert, Managing Director of Vektor. “The XPhyto team shares 3a’s vision of developing screening tools for rapid, low-cost and easy to self-administer detection of pathogens to manage infectious diseases on a population scale.”
Subject to Platform 2.0 activities and COVID-19 evaluation milestones being hit, XPhyto will fund 3a’s R&D up to CAD $1.65 million over an eleven-month period, and also commit CAD $385,000 to 3a’s biosensor Products to Vektor’s ODF platform, over five months.
Xphyto and its diagnostic partner, 3a-Diagnostics, are developing pathogen-specific ODF biosensors for infectious diseases, including pandemic threats.
“On average, it takes at least ten years for a new medicine to complete the journey from initial discovery to the marketplace,” states Phrma.org, “with clinical trials alone taking six to seven years on average.”
We are not biochemists, and probably wouldn’t recognise it if Xphyto stumbled on a cure for cancer.
What we can recognise is speed.
Our early coverage of Xphyto reveals the following company trait: Xphyto says, “We’re going to do this” – and then they do it – quickly.
A1: “anywhere” (no power or additional equipment required)
A2: “anytime” (decentralized and rapidly deployable)
A3: “anyone” (no specialized training required)
“Profit without principle is short lived,” declares 3a, “hence we comply with a strong ethical culture.”
“Successful incorporation of 3a’s peptide biosensors into Vektor’s ODF platform represents a significant technical milestone on the pathway to commercialization,” stated Hugh Rogers, CEO of Xphyto. “This was a critical step that unlocks a pipeline of potential biosensor screening products.”
3a has developed peptide-based biosensor screening tests for bacterial and viral infectious diseases, including
- Influenza A
- Scarlet fever
“Additional pandemic-focused biosensors are in planning and development,” states Xphyto, “specifically for COVID-19 (coronavirus), H1N1 (swine flu) and H5N1 (avian flu)”.
Positive detection of the respective pathogen results in enzymatic release of an extreme (but safe) bitter compound.
With formulation development and Oral Dissolvable Thin Film Oral Dissolvable Thin Film (ODF) Platform incorporation complete, Vektor and 3a are reviewing ODF optimization priorities such as: placement (that is, tongue versus cheek), size, dissolvability timeline (that is, one to two minutes) and taste.
Vektor has begun strategic planning for pilot-scale EU GMP (European Union good manufacturing practices) test manufacturing for use in clinical evaluation.
“We believe that low cost, distributable and decentralized screening tests will be a critical component of global population-scale pandemic management,” stated Dr. Heinrich Jehle, Managing Director of 3a.
It’s impossible to over-stress how on-point Jehle is here.
“The global economy could take a hit of some $82 trillion in a worst case scenario from the coronavirus,” according to the University of Cambridge, “In case of speedy recovery, an “optimistic loss” of $3.3 trillion is likely.”
“Testing is the biggest problem that we’re facing,” stated Peter Slavin, president of Massachusetts General Hospital, said recently in a roundtable on Covid-19 at Harvard Medical School.
“Answers to questions such as “When should we relax social distancing measures — and for whom?” or “How many ventilators are needed in hospitals?” are vital to our economic recovery and public health outcomes and cannot be answered without reliable test data.
On June 10, 2020, Xphyto announced that 3a and its contract research collaborators, have received a CAD $389,950 grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
The BMBF grant is part of the “KMU-innovative” program for small and medium-sized enterprises that are pioneering innovation and technological progress in Germany.
Proceeds of the grant are committed to the development and commercialization of enzyme activated biosensors for use in real-time.
Non-dilutive financing (government grants) is positive for shareholders in two ways. Firstly, it provides funding without increasing the total number of shares of the company. Secondly, it signals that the company’s specific technical objective has been given a thumbs-up by a jury of impartial government scientists.
Xphyto and 3a will continue to pursue additional opportunities for non-dilutive financing for infectious disease screening test development.
– Lukas Kane
Full Disclosure: XPHY is an Equity Guru marketing client.