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Arix Bioscience and its portfolio companies set for busy year

There are lots of data readouts and new trial starts pencilled in for the next 18 months

Arix Bioscience PLC -

It looks set to be a busy year or so for venture capital group Arix Bioscience PLC (LON:ARIX) and its portfolio of life sciences companies.

Arix’s biggest investment is Autolus Therapeutics, which specialises in developing CAR-T cell therapies that help blood to recognise cancer cells that have been hiding in the body.

READ: Autolus raises US$109mln

Its share price has more than halved this year, which led to Arix’s net asset value falling by 15% in the six months ended 30 June to £231.8mln (H1 18: £270.2mln).

That was despite initial “encouraging” data from its AUTO1 leukaemia drug.

There remains plenty for investors to get their teeth into, though, with the phase II study of AUTO1 due to kick off later this year.

More data is also due from the early-stage study of AUTO3, which should be followed by a phase II trial in the second quarter of next year, pending regulatory feedback.

21 milestones over next 18 months

Several data readouts are due from another of Arix’s core investments, Harpoon Therapeutics.

Results from Iterum Threapeutics’ late-stage urinary tract and intra-abdominal infections are expected to be released within the next few months, while data from another phase III UTI trial is due in the first half of 2020.

Over at Atox Bio, results from a phase III trial in soft tissue infections are scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019, with data from a late-stage acute kidney infection trial due next year.

Verona Pharma PLC (LON:VRP) expects to begin a phase III study of its lead chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (CPD) treatment in 2020, while data from another COPD trial is due to start coming in towards the end of the year.

A host of other results and new trial starts are also pencilled in for Arix’s other investment companies, which include Pharmaxis, LogicBio and Aura Biosciences.

‘Good progress’ in first half

While that is all to come, Arix and its investee companies made “good progress” in the first six months of 2019.

During the period, the portfolio companies raised £230mln (US$283mln) to help advance their various drug programmes, of which Arix contributed £26.3mln.

Arix fell to a loss before tax of £44.8mln (H1 18: profit of £29.3mln) in the six-month period.

“Over the period our portfolio has continued to make good progress, with a number of companies reaching important clinical milestones and completing additional financing rounds,” said chief executive Joe Anderson.

“The portfolio is well balanced and our companies well capitalised to reach important inflection points.”

He added: “In the year ahead, we see key multiple clinical and development milestones scheduled across the portfolio and we look forward to providing regular updates on progress.”

Arix shares were unchanged at 109.5p on Wednesday morning.

--Updates for additional info and share price--

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Price: 118 GBX

LSE:ARIX
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Market Cap: £159.95 m
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