ASLAN Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ASLN), a clinical-stage, immunology-focused biopharmaceutical company developing innovative treatments to transform the lives of patients, today announced financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2022, and provided an update on recent corporate activities.
“This quarter, we advanced our understanding of eblasakimab’s differentiated profile and its role in reducing pruritic neuronal responses – which remains one of the most burdensome symptoms for AD patients – with late-breaking data presented at the Society for Investigative Dermatology meeting,” stated Dr Carl Firth, CEO, ASLAN Pharmaceuticals. “These insights, and those that we are building with the initiation of new research collaborations related to eblasakimab’s unique mechanism of action, contribute key data on the distinct biological effects of eblasakimab’s selective targeting of the Type 2 receptor and its differentiation from current standard-of-care therapies. We look forward to sharing new insights on eblasakimab at the upcoming EADV Annual Congress in September as we continue to progress the TREK-AD trial of eblasakimab in moderate-severe AD and remain on track for a topline data readout from the trial in the first half of 2023.”
Second quarter 2022 and recent business highlights
- In May, the Company presented new, late-breaking data on insights related to neuronal itch mechanisms through eblasakimab’s targeting of IL-13Rα1 at the Society for Investigative Dermatology (SID) Annual Meeting. The findings demonstrated that eblasakimab significantly reduced cytokine-enhanced neuronal responses to IL-4 and IL-13-driven itch by more than 40% versus control conditions (p=0.0001), and suggest eblasakimab’s unique mechanism of blocking IL-13Rα1 could provide a molecular basis for the significant reduction of pruritus scores observed in eblasakimab-treated moderate-to-severe AD patients in the Phase 1b clinical trial. Further data from the translational studies will be shared in the second half of 2022.
- In June, the Company initiated a scientific collaboration with Dr Shawn Kwatra from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Dr Madan Kwatra from Duke University Medical Center to explore the distinct role of IL-13 receptor signaling in AD. The collaboration is evaluating how IL-13Rα1-mediated allergic, inflammatory and regulatory pathways are affected by eblasakimab’s selective targeting of the Type 2 receptor. Research findings will be disclosed for presentation during the second half of 2022.
- In June, the Company hosted the third episode in its series of Key Opinion Leader (KOL) webinars, the “A4 (Aspects of Atopic Dermatitis and ASLAN004/eblasakimab) Series: ‘Dialogues with International Thought Leaders in Dermatology’”. Peter Lio MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics at Northwestern University, discussed the limitations of the current treatment landscape in AD and the resulting unmet medical needs in patients who do not respond optimally to current standards of care. All three webinar episodes from the A4 series are available for replay here.
- In June, based on emerging clinical data for DHODH inhibitors in inflammatory bowel disease, the Company decided to prioritize the further development of farudodstat in autoimmune skin diseases. A clinical development plan is being finalized and a Phase 2 trial is expected to commence in the first half of 2023.
Anticipated upcoming milestones
- Three abstracts with new data on biomarkers and patient reported outcome measures from the Phase 1b proof-of-concept trial of eblasakimab have been accepted for e-poster presentation at the 31st EADV Annual Congress held in person and virtually, from September 7 to 10, 2022, in Milan, Italy.
- The Company will host a Research and Development (R&D) Day on September 15, 2022, with a hybrid in-person and virtual format. More information will be announced in the weeks ahead.
- Topline data from the Phase 2b TREK-AD trial of eblasakimab is expected in the first half of 2023.
Second quarter 2022 financial highlights
- Cash used in operating activities for the second quarter of 2022 was US$9.7 million compared to US$6.9 million in the same period in 2021.
- Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments as of June 30, 2022, were US$78.1 million.
- Research and development expenses were US$10.0 million in the second quarter of 2022 compared to US$4.0 million in the second quarter of 2021. The increase was due to clinical development expenses and manufacturing costs related to eblasakimab TREK-AD Phase 2b trial.
- General and administrative expenses were US$2.3 million in the second quarter of 2022 compared to US$3.8 million in the second quarter of 2021.
- Net loss attributable to stockholders for the second quarter of 2022 was US$13.0 million compared to a net loss of US$5.4 million for the second quarter of 2021.
- The weighted average number of American Depositary Shares (ADS) outstanding in the computation of basic loss per share for the second quarter of 2022 was 69.7 million (representing 348.7 million ordinary shares) compared to 69.6 million (representing 347.8 million ordinary shares) for the second quarter of 2021. One ADS is the equivalent of five ordinary shares.