A Novel Approach to Biotech Business
Nuevolution focuses on delivering breakthrough medicines for treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases. Their patented drug discovery platform provides access to screening of trillions of molecules and efficient optimisation of drug properties in the process of identifying the drug candidate.
The Scandinavian biopharmaceutical company Nuevolution started out as a platform company in 2001. It’s founded on the idea of combining the principles of small-molecule synthesis and evolution-based screening for the realisation of efficacious, safer, tablet based, and lower cost medicines, for treatment of severe chronic inflammatory diseases, immuno-oncology and personalised medicine for treatment of cancer.
Their powerful drug discovery platform engine called Chemetics allows them to screen trillions of compounds at the outset of a programme, i.e. millions of fold more than what large pharmaceutical companies can do, thereby greatly enhancing the chances of finding promising compounds in the early research phase. Having developed a very cost-effective drug-discovery process, the company shifted focus in 2012. It went from being a platform company to become a pipeline company and started to advance screening and development of different compound programmes. Since then, they’ve built the biggest screening library on earth, encompassing 40 trillion compounds.
Each year Nuevolution plans to screen in the order of 15 biological disease targets and run several programmes in parallel instead of just one or two programmes, which traditionally is more common for a biotech company. Programmes in their pipeline include programmes targeting severe inflammatory diseases and cancer including immuno-oncology, where the patient’s own immune system is stimulated to fight the cancer.
Partnering Agreements Yield Early Revenues
Since the outset, partnering agreements have been, and still are, at the core of the company’s business model. Over the years, Nuevolution has entered 17 agreements with major actors in the industry. The latest agreements, signed in 2016 with Almirall and Amgen respectively, are but two great examples.
”The Almirall agreement concerns Nuevolution’s novel ROR?t inverse agonist (inhibitor) programme for treatment of inflammatory skin diseases and disorders, as well as for treatment of psoriatic arthritis. It was signed just 3 years after we launched the programme. Apart from the upfront payment of EUR 11.2 million, we’re eligible to regulatory milestones of up to EUR 172 million, and tiered commercial sales milestones of up to EUR 270 million, plus royalties on sales,” says Alex Haahr Gouliaev, CEO of Nuevolution.
The Amgen case concerns a multiple target research collaboration applying the Chemetics platform to discover, develop and commercialise novel therapeutics in the areas of oncology and neuroscience. Amgen has an exclusive option to obtain all rights to successfully developed programmes, while Nuevolution is eligible to a license fee payment upon option exercise and milestone payments amounting up to USD 410 million per target. They would also be entitled to receive royalties on future sales.
”In the case of Almirall, we have been able to realise significant revenues already 3 years after programme launch, instead of after 7-8 years in the more traditional way of pursuing business opportunities for a biotech company. And in the second case, we have secured a strong partner from the first day of research, thereby reducing the business risk of programmes,” Alex Haahr Gouliaev comments.
The company has a very strong cash position with close to SEK 200 million. It’s listed in the Premium segment of Nasdaq First North since December 2015 and has the ambition of up-listing the company to the main market.