His comments were made alongside the company’s results for the 12 months to December 31, 2019, which charted a period of significant progress.
Heading the list of highlights was the approval in America for Accrufer with a broad label from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Shield already has commercial agreements in Europe and China for the drug, which is known as Feraccru outside the US.
After appointing an adviser, the company has started by identifying and contacting a “long list of potential partners who might be considered appropriate for the commercialisation of the product” in the US.
“We have had considerable interest in Accrufer from a range of US-based companies, ranging from relatively small companies which focus on single therapeutic areas to larger organisations which span several of the therapeutic areas in which Accrufer is relevant,” Watts said in the results statement.
“We are continuing to work hard to identify the optimal combination of partner, from a capability perspective, and financial terms. I look forward to being able to update the market in the coming months,” he added.
Analysts believe the Shield product has the potential to be a significant revenue generator as it has a number of advantages over the current standard of care, not least that is quick and easy to administer.
In common with many other companies at the formative stages of the commercialisation process, Shield was loss-making last year – to the tune of £8.8mln. It exited 2019 with £4.1mln in the bank.
Last year also saw the positive long-term results from the AEGIS-H2H clinical study, while in January it struck a licence agreement with ASK Pharm in China.
The ASK deal came with a £9.3mln upfront payment, which alleviated any potential cash stretch and £42.1mln of development and sales milestones.