What MaxCyte does
MaxCyte Inc (LON:MXCT) is developing an experimental targeted cancer treatment but also licenses out the technology to larger biotechs and pharma companies, including the international giant Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:GILD), to aid their discovery process.
MaxCyte‘s CARMA platform is being used to develop some of the first drug candidates that use the company’s own immune system to fight solid tumours.
Its lead candidate, MCY-M11 is what’s known as a chimeric antigen receptor, CAR therapy, which gives T-cells the new ability to target a specific protein.
T-cells are part of the immune system and circulate around our bodies, scanning for cellular abnormalities and infections.
How it is doing
In October, the company announced three senior appointments that it said “bolstered the leadership team”.
Key among them was the promotion of Brad Calvin to the role of chief commercial officer after a successful stint as the cell therapy specialist’s vice president of commercial operations.
This followed a strong set of half-year results in September, where MaxCyte saw underlying earnings (EBITDA) turn positive at US$0.6mln in the first half of 2020, compared to a loss of US$1.4mln the year before.
The post-tax loss narrowed to US$6.1mln from US$9.5mln the year before, or US$0.9mln (2019: US$2.0mln loss) while revenue surged by 30.1% to US$10.9mln from the previous year’s US$8.4mln. The gross margin improved by 2.2 percentage points to 89.7%, thanks largely to an increase in clinical milestone revenues.
Cash and cash equivalents, including short-term investments, stood at US$38.2mln at the end of June, up 156.0% from US$14.9mln a year earlier.
As a result, the company said its full-year revenues are now on track to be modestly ahead of market expectations.
The firm is also making progress in its CARMA Cell Therapies research arm, which in August expanded the phase I trial of its promising cancer immunotherapy, MCY-M11.
What the boss says: Doug Doerfler, chief executive
“MaxCyte has delivered strong positive momentum during the first half of 2020, building on the growth reported in 2019, reflecting its position as a leader in the field of advanced therapies and a trusted partner-of-choice for cell therapy developers.”
“Our full-year 2020 revenue outlook has improved from the initial uncertainty outlined in April, although the ongoing COVID pandemic still limits visibility. As a result, we now expect to report revenues for the full-year 2020 at least modestly ahead of prior market expectations.”
“In addition, the outlook for 2021 continues to strengthen significantly, due to our current progress and our partners’ on-going advancement towards milestone events in the coming year. We remain highly confident in the strength and resilience of our business model, and in the prospects for continued growth, particularly as our growing number of partners advance their clinical programmes.”
- Spinout of CARMA Cell Therapy arm via a NASDAQ-listing
- Underlying revenue supported by GBP25mln equity raise
- Expansion strategy
What the analyst says – Emma Ulker
“MaxCyte has confirmed that its CARMA Cell Therapies subsidiary will expand its phase I clinical trial of MCY-M11, its differentiated lead cell therapy candidate currently in first-in-human studies for advanced solid cancers.”
“This is a natural progression based on promising preliminary data from the study presented at the virtual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in May.”
“The expansion of the study will add a new parallel cohort, that will receive preconditioning treatment and this factor plus the extension of the trial to include multiple treatment cycles are factors that can potentially enhance the efficacy of MCY-M11.”