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SNGX > SEC Filings for SNGX > Form 10-Q on 14-Nov-2012All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for SOLIGENIX, INC.

Form 10-Q for SOLIGENIX, INC.


14-Nov-2012

Quarterly Report


ITEM 2 - MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion and analysis provides information to explain our results of operations and financial condition. You should also read our unaudited consolidated interim financial statements and their notes included in this Form 10-Q, and our audited consolidated financial statements and their notes including Risk Factors and other information included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011. This report contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements within this Form 10-Q are identified by words such as "believes," "anticipates," "expects," "intends," "may," "will" "plans" and other similar expression, however, these words are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements. In addition, any statements that refer to expectations projections or other characterizations of future events or circumstances are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. Except as expressly required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events, circumstances or developments occurring subsequent to the filing of this Form 10-Q with the SEC or for any other reason and you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. You should carefully review and consider the various disclosures the Company makes in this report and our other reports filed with the SEC that attempt to advise interested parties of the risks, uncertainties and other factors that may affect our business.

Overview:

Business Overview

Soligenix, Inc. was incorporated in Delaware in 1987. We are a development stage biopharmaceutical company that is focused on developing products to treat serious gastrointestinal diseases where there remains an unmet medical need, as well as developing several biodefense vaccines and therapeutics. We maintain two active business segments: BioTherapeutics and Vaccines/BioDefense. Our BioTherapeutics business segment intends to develop oral beclomethasone dipropionate (oral BDP) for indications such as pediatric Crohn's disease and acute radiation enteritis. Our Vaccines/BioDefense business segment includes active development programs for RiVax™, our ricin toxin vaccine, and VeloThrax™, our anthrax vaccine, and OrbeShield™, our gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome ("GI ARS") therapeutic. The advanced development of our vaccine programs is currently supported by our heat stabilization technology, known as ThermoVax™, under existing and on-going government grant funding.

Our business strategy can be outlined as follows:

? Initiate a Phase 1/2 clinical trial of oral BDP, known as SGX203, in pediatric Crohn's disease;

? Evaluate the effectiveness of orBec®/Oral BDP in other therapeutic indications involving inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal ("GI") tract such as prevention of acute radiation enteritis and treatment of chronic GI GVHD;

? Develop RiVax™ and VeloThrax™ in combination with our proprietary vaccine heat stabilization technology known as ThermoVax™ to develop new heat stable vaccines in biodefense and infectious diseases with the potential to collaborate and/or partner with other companies in these areas;

? Continue to apply for and secure additional government funding for each of our BioTherapeutics and Vaccines/BioDefense programs through grants, contracts and/or procurements;

? Acquire or in-license new clinical-stage compounds for development; and

? Explore other business development and acquisition strategies.


Our principal offices are located at 29 Emmons Drive, Suite C-10, Princeton, New Jersey 08540 and our telephone number is (609) 538-8200.

Our Products in Development

The following tables summarize the products that we are currently developing:

                            BioTherapeutic Products

Soligenix Product        Therapeutic Indication              Stage of Development
     SGX203             Pediatric Crohn's disease         Phase 1/2 clinical program
                                                                   planned
                                                          Phase 1/2 trial complete;
     SGX201             Acute Radiation Enteritis           safety and preliminary
                                                            efficacy demonstrated
     orBec®           Treatment of Chronic GI GVHD          Phase 2 trial planned
 LPM™ Leuprolide    Endometriosis and Prostate Cancer            Pre-clinical

                        Vaccine Thermostability Platform

Soligenix Product             Indication                  Stage of Development
   ThermoVax™        Thermostability of aluminum              Pre-clinical
                         adjuvanted vaccines



                          Vaccines/BioDefense Products

Soligenix Product             Indication                  Stage of Development
                                                       Phase 1B trial enrollment
                           Vaccine against                     complete;
     RiVax™             Ricin Toxin Poisoning           safety and neutralizing
                                                             antibodies for
                                                        projection demonstrated

   VeloThrax™              Vaccine against                    Pre-clinical
                          Anthrax Poisoning

   OrbeShield™        Therapeutic against GI ARS      Follow-on pre-clinical study
                                                                planned;
                                                       Initial pre-clinical study
                                                               complete;
                                                        successful protection of
                                                                canines

BioTherapeutics Overview

Indications of orBec® and Oral BDP

orBec®/oral BDP represents a first-of-its-kind oral, locally acting therapy tailored to treat gastrointestinal inflammation. BDP has been marketed in the U.S. and worldwide since the early 1970s as the active pharmaceutical ingredient in a nasal spray and in a metered-dose inhaler for the treatment of patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma. orBec®/oral BDP is specifically formulated for oral administration as a single product consisting of two tablets. One tablet is intended to release BDP in the upper sections of the GI tract and the other tablet is intended to release BDP in the lower sections of the GI tract.


Based on its pharmacological characteristics, orBec®/oral BDP (the active ingredient in orBec®) may have utility in treating conditions of the gastrointestinal tract having an inflammatory component. We have an issued U.S. patent 8,263,582 claiming the use of oral BDP as a method of treating inflammatory disorders, including Crohn's disease, of the gastrointestinal tract and U.S. patent 6,096,731 claiming the use of oral BDP as a method for preventing and treating the tissue damage that is associated with both GI GVHD following HCT, as well as GVHD which also occurs following organ allograft transplantation. We also have European Patent EP 1392321 claiming the use of topically active corticosteroids in orally administered dosage forms that act concurrently to treat inflammation in the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract and European patent EP 1830857 claiming oral BDP in conjunction with a short duration of high-dose prednisone with a rapid taper for the reduction of mortality associated with GVHD and leukemia. We are planning for/pursuing development programs in the treatment of pediatric Crohn's disease, acute radiation enteritis, chronic GI GVHD and GI ARS pending further grant funding. We are exploring the possibility of testing oral BDP for local inflammation associated with Ulcerative Colitis, among other indications.

In addition to issued patents and pending worldwide patent applications held by or exclusively licensed to us, orBec®/oral BDP would benefit from orphan drug designations in the U.S. and in Europe. Orphan drug designations provide for 7 and 10 years of market exclusivity upon approval in the U.S. and Europe, respectively.

SGX203 - Oral BDP for Treating Pediatric Crohn's Disease

SGX203 is a two tablet delivery system of BDP specifically designed for oral use that allows for delivery of immediate and delayed release BDP throughout the small bowel and the colon. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("the FDA") has awarded SGX203 Orphan Drug Designation for the treatment of pediatric Crohn's disease. We plan to initiate a Phase 2 clinical trial in pediatric Crohn's disease in 2012.

About Pediatric Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease is an ongoing disorder that causes inflammation of the GI tract. Crohn's disease can affect any area of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, but it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum. The swelling caused by the disease extends deep into the lining of the affected organ. The swelling can induce pain and can make the intestines empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea. Because the symptoms of Crohn's disease are similar to other intestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis, it can be difficult to diagnose. People of Ashkenazy Jewish heritage have an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease.

Crohn's disease can appear at any age, but it is most often diagnosed in adults in their 20s and 30s. However, approximately 30% of people with Crohn's disease develop symptoms before 20 years of age. Pediatric Crohn's disease is a subpopulation of approximately 80,000 patients in the United States. Crohn's disease tends to be both severe and extensive in the pediatric population and a relatively high proportion (25-40%) of pediatric Crohn's patients have involvement of their upper gastrointestinal tract.

Crohn's disease presents special challenges for children and teens. In addition to bothersome and often painful symptoms, the disease can stunt growth, delay puberty, and weaken bones. Crohn's disease symptoms may sometimes prevent a child from participating in enjoyable activities. The emotional and psychological issues of living with a chronic disease can be especially difficult for young people.

SGX201 - Oral BDP for Preventing Acute Radiation Enteritis

SGX201 is a delayed-release formulation of BDP specifically designed for oral use. We recently completed a Phase 1/2 clinical trial testing SGX201 in prevention of acute radiation enteritis. Patients with rectal cancer scheduled to undergo concurrent radiation and chemotherapy prior to surgery were randomized to one of four dose groups. The objectives of the study were to evaluate the safety and maximal tolerated dose of escalating doses of SGX201, as well as the preliminary efficacy of SGX201 for prevention of signs and symptoms of acute radiation enteritis. The study demonstrated that oral administration of SGX201 was safe and well tolerated across all four dose groups. There was also evidence of a potential dose response with respect to diarrhea, nausea and vomiting and the assessment of enteritis according to National Cancer Institute ("NCI") Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events for selected gastrointestinal events. In addition, the incidence of diarrhea was lower than that seen in recent published historical control data in this patient population. This program was supported in part by a $500,000 two-year Small Business Innovation Research ("SBIR") grant awarded by the NIH. These data are currently under review with our Radiation Enteritis medical advisory board to determine potential next steps forward with the clinical development program


We have received "Fast Track" designation from the FDA for SGX201 for radiation enteritis. Fast Track is a designation that the FDA reserves for a drug intended to treat a serious or life-threatening condition and one that demonstrates the potential to address an unmet medical need for the condition. Fast track designation is designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of new drugs. For instance, should events warrant, we will be eligible to submit a New Drug Application ("NDA") for SGX201 on a rolling basis, permitting the FDA to review sections of the NDA prior to receiving the complete submission. Additionally, NDAs for Fast Track development programs ordinarily will be eligible for priority review, which implies an abbreviated review time of six months.

About Acute Radiation Enteritis

External radiation therapy is used to treat most types of cancer, including cancer of the bladder, uterine, cervix, rectum, prostate, and vagina. During delivery of treatment, some level of radiation will also be delivered to healthy tissue, including the bowel, leading to acute and chronic toxicities. The large and small bowels are very sensitive to radiation and the larger the dose of radiation the greater the damage to normal bowel tissue. Radiation enteritis is a condition in which the lining of the bowel becomes swollen and inflamed during or after radiation therapy to the abdomen, pelvis, or rectum. Most tumors in the abdomen and pelvis need large doses, and almost all patients receiving radiation to the abdomen, pelvis, or rectum will show signs of acute enteritis.

Patients with acute enteritis may have nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and bleeding, among other symptoms. Some patients may develop dehydration and require hospitalization. With diarrhea, the gastrointestinal tract does not function normally, and nutrients such as fat, lactose, bile salts, and vitamin B12 are not well absorbed.

Symptoms will usually resolve within 2-6 weeks after therapy has ceased. Radiation enteritis is often not a self-limited illness, as over 80% of patients who receive abdominal radiation therapy complain of a persistent change in bowel habits. Moreover, acute radiation injury increases the risk of development of chronic radiation enteropathy, and overall 5% to 15% of the patients who receive abdominal or pelvic irradiation will develop chronic radiation enteritis.

There are over 100,000 patients annually in the U.S. who receive abdominal or pelvic external beam radiation treatment for cancer, and these patients are at risk of developing acute and chronic radiation enteritis.

orBec® - Oral BDP for Treating Chronic GI GVHD

orBec® is a two tablet delivery system of BDP specifically designed for oral use that allows for delivery of immediate and delayed release BDP to treat the gastrointestinal manifestation of chronic GVHD, the organ system where GVHD is most frequently encountered and highly problematic. orBec® is intended to reduce the need for systemic immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone to treat chronic GI GVHD. The active ingredient in orBec® is BDP, a highly potent, topically active corticosteroid that has a local effect on inflamed tissue. BDP has been marketed in the US and worldwide since the early 1970s as the active pharmaceutical ingredient in a nasal spray and in a metered-dose inhaler for the treatment of patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma.

In September 2012, we received a $300,000 two-year Small Business Innovation Research ("SBIR") grant awarded by the NIH to support a Phase 2 study. orBec® has been awarded orphan drug designations in the U.S. and in Europe for the treatment of GI GVHD.


About Chronic GVHD

GVHD is a major complication of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. GVHD is an inflammatory disease initiated by T cells in the donor graft that recognize histocompatibility and other tissue antigens of the host, and is mediated by a variety of effector cells and inflammatory cytokines. GVHD presents in both acute and chronic forms. The symptoms of chronic GVHD typically present at between 100 days and three years post-transplant.

Chronic GVHD has features resembling autoimmune and other immunologic disorders such as scleroderma, Sjögren syndrome, primary biliary cirrhosis, wasting syndrome, bronchiolitis obliterans (BO), immune cytopenias and chronic immunode?ciency. The manifestations of chronic GVHD may be restricted to a single organ or tissue or may be widespread. Chronic GVHD can lead to debilitating consequences, e.g., joint contractures, loss of sight, end-stage lung disease, or mortality resulting from profound chronic immune suppression leading to recurrent or life-threatening infections.

Treatment of chronic GVHD is a challenge because it can be refractory to frontline immunosuppression. High-dose systemic corticosteroids are used with some success but carry significant toxicity. The risks of prolonged immunosuppression include local and disseminated infections, Epstein-Barr virus associated lymphoproliferative disease, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal ("HPA") axis suppression, myopathy, glucose intolerance, neuropsychiatric disease and bone demineralization.

Commercialization and Market

On February 11, 2009, we entered into a collaboration and supply agreement with Sigma-Tau for the commercialization of orBec®/oral BDP. Sigma-Tau is a pharmaceutical company that develops novel therapies for the unmet needs of patients with rare diseases. Pursuant to this agreement, Sigma-Tau has an exclusive license to commercialize orBec®/oral BDP in the U.S., Canada and Mexico ("the Territory"). Sigma-Tau is obligated to make payments upon the attainment of significant milestones, as set forth in the agreement. Total remaining milestone payments due from Sigma-Tau for orBec®/oral BDP under the agreement could reach up to $9 million. Sigma-Tau will pay us a 35% royalty (Soligenix to provide finished drug product) on net sales in the Territory as well as pay for commercialization expenses, including launch activities.

The Collaboration and Supply Agreement with Sigma-Tau expires on a country-by-country basis on the later of: (i) 10 years after the date of the first commercial sale of orBec®/oral BDP by Sigma-Tau in such country; or (ii) the expiration of the last to expire of the Company's patents and patent applications relating to orBec®/oral BDP in such country. Upon the expiration of the initial term, on a country-by-country basis, the agreement is automatically renewed for periods of five years. During such renewal periods, we and Sigma-Tau have the right to terminate the agreement for convenience upon six months and 18 months, respectively, prior written notice. If we terminate the agreement for convenience, we are required to transfer to Sigma-Tau or its designee, for no consideration, the FDA and European Medicines Agency ("EMEA") authorizations which are necessary for the marketing, use, distribution and sale of orBec®/oral BDP and all relevant data and know-how necessary to manufacture and commercialize orBec®/oral BDP in the country and grant to Sigma-Tau a royalty-free, fully paid, perpetual and irrevocable license, with the right to sublicense, to all trademarks and such know-how.


Either party may terminate the agreement: (i) in the event the other party breaches any material obligation; or (ii) upon the initiation of a proceeding in bankruptcy (voluntary or involuntary), reorganization, dissolution, liquidation or similar proceeding or occurrence. We also have the right to terminate the agreement in the event that Sigma-Tau challenges or assists any third party in the challenge of the validity of any of our patents or patent applications relating to orBec®/oral BDP.

Upon termination other than for breach by Sigma-Tau, Sigma-Tau has the right to process and sell its inventory for a period of three months following the date of termination, subject to the payment of the amounts owed under the agreement, to us and continued compliance with the terms of the agreement.

On July 28, 2011, we announced the expansion and amendment of our North American licensing partnership with Sigma-Tau for the development and commercialization of orBec®/oral BDP into the "European Territory" (as defined in the amendment). Pursuant to this amendment, we received an up-front non-refundable payment of $5 million and granted Sigma-Tau an exclusive license to commercialize orBec®/oral BDP in the European territory. The amendment requires Sigma-Tau to make additional payments to us in the aggregate amount of $11 million upon the achievement of certain milestones. The amendment also requires Sigma-Tau to pay us a 40% royalty (Soligenix to provide finished drug product) on net sales in the European Territory and pay for all commercialization expenses, including launch activities.

We believe the potential worldwide market for orBec®/oral BDP is in excess of $500 million for all GI applications, namely, Crohn's disease, radiation enteritis, GI ARS, and GVHD.

LPM™ - Leuprolide for Treating Endometriosis and Prostate Cancer

Our Lipid Polymer Micelle ("LPM™") oral drug delivery system is a proprietary platform technology designed to allow for the oral administration of peptide drugs that are water-soluble but poorly permeable through the gastrointestinal tract. We have previously demonstrated in pre-clinical animal models that the LPM™ technology is adaptable to oral delivery of peptide drugs and that high systemic levels after intestinal absorption can be achieved with the peptide hormone drug leuprolide. The LPM™ system utilizes a lipid based delivery system that can incorporate the peptide of interest in a thermodynamically stable configuration called a "reverse micelle" that, through oral administration, can promote intestinal absorption. Reverse micelles are structures that form when certain classes of lipids come in contact with small amounts of water. This results in a drug delivery system in which a stable clear dispersion of the water soluble drug can be evenly dispersed within the lipid phase. LPM™ is thought to promote intestinal absorption due to the ability of the micelles to open up small channels through the epithelial layer of the intestines that allow only molecules of a certain dimension to pass through while excluding extremely large molecules such as bacteria and viruses. The reverse micelles also structurally prevent the rapid inactivation of peptides by enzymes in the upper gastrointestinal tract via a non-specific enzyme inhibition by surfactant(s) in the formulation.

In pre-clinical studies, the LPM™ delivery technology significantly enhanced the ability of leuprolide to pass through the intestinal epithelium in comparison to leuprolide alone. Leuprolide is a synthetic peptide agonist of gonadotropin releasing hormone, which is used in the treatment of prostate cancer in men and endometriosis in women. Leuprolide exhibits poor intestinal absorption from an aqueous solution with the oral bioavailability being less than 5%. Utilizing LPM™ in rats and dogs, the bioavailability of leuprolide averaged 30% compared to 2.2% for the control oral solution. Based on these promising pre-clinical data, we anticipate preparing for a Phase 1 study in humans to confirm these findings, pending further funding.


An oral version of leuprolide may provide a significant advantage over the currently marketed "depot" formulations. Leuprolide is one of the most widely used anti-cancer agents for advanced prostate cancer in men. Injectable forms of leuprolide marketed under trade names such as Lupron® and Eligard® had worldwide annual sales of more than $1 billion in recent years. Injectable leuprolide is also widely used in non-cancer indications, such as endometriosis in women (a common condition in which cells normally found in the uterus become implanted in other areas of the body), uterine fibroids in women (noncancerous growths in the uterus) and central precocious puberty in children (a condition causing children to enter puberty too soon). Leuprolide is currently available only in injectable, injectable depot and subcutaneous implant routes of delivery which limits its use and utility.

Vaccines/BioDefense Overview

ThermoVax™ - Thermostability Technology

Soligenix's Thermostability technology, ThermoVax™, is a novel method of rendering aluminum salt (known colloquially as Alum) adjuvanted vaccines stable at elevated temperatures. Alum is the most widely employed adjuvant technology in the vaccine industry. The value of ThermoVax™ lies in its potential ability to eliminate the need for cold-chain production, transportation, and storage for Alum adjuvanted vaccines. This would relieve companies of the high costs of producing and maintaining vaccines under refrigerated conditions. The World Health Organization ("WHO") reports that 50% of all vaccines around the world are wasted due to thermostability issues. This is due to the fact that most Alum adjuvanted vaccines need to be maintained at between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius ("C") and even brief excursions from this temperature range (especially below freezing) usually necessitates the destruction of the product or the initiation of costly stability programs specific for the vaccine lots in question. The savings realized from the elimination of cold chain costs and related product losses would in turn significantly increase the profitability of vaccine products. Elimination of the cold chain would also further facilitate the use of these vaccines in the lesser developed parts of the world. On the Vaccines/BioDefense side, ThermoVax™ has the potential to facilitate easier storage and distribution of strategic national stockpile vaccines in emergency settings.

Initial proof-of-concept preclinical studies with ThermoVax™ indicate that it is able to produce stable vaccine formulations using adjuvants, protein immunogens, and other components that ordinarily would not withstand long temperature variations exceeding customary refrigerated storage conditions. These studies were conducted with Soligenix's aluminum-adjuvanted ricin toxin vaccine, RiVax™, made under precise lyophilization conditions using excipients that aid in maintaining native protein structure of the ricin A chain, the immunogenic compound of the vaccine. When RiVax™ was kept at 40 degrees C for over three months, all of the animals vaccinated with the lyophilized RiVax™ vaccine developed potent and high titer neutralizing antibodies. Confirmatory results have extended the stability to more than three months when the vaccine is kept at 40 degrees C. In contrast, animals that were vaccinated with the liquid RiVax™ vaccine kept at 40 degrees C did not develop neutralizing antibodies and were not protected against ricin exposure. The ricin A chain is extremely sensitive to temperature and rapidly loses the ability to induce neutralizing antibodies when exposed to temperatures higher than 8 degrees C.

Near term progress with ThermoVax™ will allow Soligenix to seek out potential partnerships with companies marketing FDA/ex-U.S. health authority approved Alum adjuvanted vaccines that are interested in eliminating the need for cold chain for their products. ThermoVax™ will further enable Soligenix to expand its vaccine development expertise beyond biodefense into the infectious disease space and also has the potential to allow for the development of multivalent vaccines (e.g., combination ricin-anthrax vaccine).

. . .

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