Evgen Pharma Plc (LON:EVG) is a virtual pharmaceutical company focused on the development of a synthetic version of a natural product, sulforaphane, which is known to modulate key signalling pathways involved in cellular protection and inflammation. Evgen’s proprietary technology, Sulforadex, creates new and stable variants of sulforaphane, enabling it to be used as a therapeutic for the first time. SFX-01 is progressing in Phase II clinical trials for both subarachnoid haemorrhage and ER+ breast cancer, with readouts expected in or around the end of 2018. EVG has strengthened its balance sheet with a Placing to raise new funds of £2.3m gross.
Strategy: Evgen is focused on the clinical development of synthetic and stable variants derived from sulforaphane using its proprietary technology, Sulforadex. Lead candidate SFX-01 is being assessed in Phase II trials for both SAH and breast cancer, both strategic entry portals for other uses in neurology and oncology.
Interims: Consistent with its strategy, most operating expenditure is being invested into R&D to support the SFX-01 clinical programme. Recruitment into two trials is progressing with an expansion of sites. A compassionate use programme has commenced following the 24-week STEM trial treatment period.
Placing: Concomitant with the release of the interim results, EVG has conditionally raised £2.3m gross through a Placing to new and existing shareholders as well as the Management. Proceeds will be used to advance both Phase II trials, for working capital purposes, and to explore new indications.
Risks: As with all drug development companies, there is a risk that products will fail in clinical trials. However, sulforaphane has been through a number of encouraging clinical trials despite its stability and dosing limitations. Therefore, coupled with two potential targets, Evgen’s risk profile is arguably reduced.
Investment summary: SFX-01 would be entering multi-billion dollar global markets that are currently unsatisfied. There is also potential to use sulforaphane in other indications. Evgen Pharma Plc intends to out-license its drugs to the pharmaceutical majors for global commercialisation. The enterprise value afforded to the company by the market does not reflect properly the development stage of SFX-01 and lower than usual risk profile.