Catalyst heavy 12-months for oncology hopeful Arovella Therapeutics

Thu 03 Feb 22, 6:10pm (AEST)
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Key Points

  • Arovella will be busy advancing preclinical trials for cancer treatments
  • The $27m mcap company has $8.8m cash to execute its therapy developments

Arovella Therapeutics (ASX: ALA) , formerly Suda Pharmaceuticals (ASX: SUD), is in a cashed-up position heading into a catalyst-heavy 2022 for new cell therapy developments. 

Arovella maintained an $8.8m cash position as at 30 December 2021 despite a market cap of just $27m. 

The biotech company is most well known for developing its invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cell therapies, one of the body’s rarest immune cells.

The therapy will combine iNKT cells with lab-made proteins called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), which cause immune cells to target cells such as cancers.

Near-term revenues 

The Arovella rebrand from Suda reflected the company’s focus on specific disease areas, oncology and conditions that affect the central nervous system. 

Despite the pivot, the company does have a commercial product for the treatment of short-term insomnia. 

While deemed a non-core aspect of the business, ZolpiMist has been approved by Australia’s Therapeutics Goods Association, the US Food and Drug Administration and more recently, Chile’s Ministry of Health. 

Arovella is working with its partner, Teva Pharmaceuticals, to commence “commercial sales in the foreseeable future.” 

CAR-iNKT development 

In the next 12-months, Arovella is testing DKK1-CAR-iNKT for the treatment of cancers including pancreatic, lung and breast cancer. Studies in the first half of 2022 will look to:

  • Confirm only cancerous tissues are targeted 

  • Initiate preclinical studies for relevant tumour types (blood cancers, solid tumours)

In the second half of 2022:

  • Complete preclinical studies 

  • Initiate process development for manufacturing 

Arovella is also exploring the broader use of its iNKT cell therapy platform. CEO and Managing Director DR Michael Baker said to the Imperial College London: 

“The iNKT cell therapy platform provides an opportunity to target several cancers using a product that we expect to have superior activity and to be more cost-effective, which should allow the therapy to reach more individuals.”

Written By

Kerry Sun

Finance Writer & Social Media

Kerry holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Monash University. He is an avid swing trader, focused on technical set ups and breakouts. Outside of writing and trading, Kerry is a big UFC fan, loves poker and training Muay Thai. Connect via LinkedIn or email.

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