The highlight of the Neil Woodford-backed company’s year came in February, when it reported positive initial data from the mid-stage study of its retinitis pigmentosa treatment.
After being treated with ReNeuron’s human retinal progenitor cells (hRPC), the first three patients were able to read an additional three lines of the standard ETDRS eye chart.
Even chief financial officer Michael Hunt was amazed, telling Proactive at the time that to see such strong reactions in every patient that had been treated so far was “very surprising”.
After the end of the company’s financial year, ReNeuron reported that those initial improvements seen in the early patients had been sustained and actually enhanced as the study progressed.
Chinese giant Fosun liked what it saw
Top-line results for all patients are due to be presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting in October.
The trial’s progress helped to catch the eye of Chinese drugs giant Fosun Pharma, which, in April, agreed to license ReNeuron’s hRPC and its CTX stem cell therapy for stroke as part of a deal worth up to £80mln.
Speaking of CTX, a phase IIb trial kicked off in the US at the beginning of 2019, and top-line data from that is due in late 2020.
More data readouts due over next 18 months
“The past year has been a transformational one for ReNeuron,” said chief executive Olav Hellebø.
“During the period, we commenced patient dosing in the US placebo-controlled Phase 2b clinical trial of our CTX cell therapy candidate in chronic stroke disability.
“This was followed shortly afterwards by the announcement of strongly positive preliminary efficacy data from the first three phase IIa patients in the ongoing US phase I/IIa clinical trial of our hRPC cell therapy candidate in retinitis pigmentosa.”
He added: “We look forward to delivering further significant clinical data in our stroke and retinitis pigmentosa programmes over the next 18 months.”
Full-year loss narrows
Losses fell to £14.3mln in the 12 months to the end of March (2018: loss of £17.6mln).
At the end of period, ReNeuron had cash and cash equivalents of £26.4mln (2018: £37.4mln), although this doesn’t include the £5.4mln upfront payment received from Fosun in April.
Shares were down 8% to 253p in early deals on Thursday.