Trophos: Christine Placet. Developing original molecules for neurological and cardiac dieases




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Video title: Trophos: Christine Placet. Developing original molecules for neurological and cardiac dieases
Released on: January 31, 2013. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, filmed at BioEurope 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, Fintan Walton talks to Christine Placet, CEO at Trophos
Product pipeline and programs
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BioEurope, in Hamburg, in 2012. On this show I have Christine Placet, who is the CEO of a company called Trophos, which is based in Marseille, France. Welcome.
Christine Placet:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
Christine, could you tell us a little bit about the history of Trophos?
Christine Placet:
Sure, Trophos is a company which has been created 12-years ago by serial entrepreneurs and scientists from the INSA Lyon University and University of Marseille. It has been created on an idea of screening in high throughput way motor neurons, motor neurons to treat neurodegenerative rare disease.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so I mean obviously that's a very focused part of the business, so could you describe your current product pipeline?
Christine Placet:
Yes, so Trophos is now a late stage clinical trial company and we have now three ongoing trials. The first one is in an indication called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which is as I said a rare disease and which is the first targeted indication of Trophos. So this is a disease which touch children, and about 20,000 people are touched by this disease in the world. We are now in a Phase II/III and we are expecting results by the end of 2013.
Fintan Walton:
And this is with the original drug that was used for ALS?
Christine Placet:
Yes, before this clinical trials we tested olesoxime, this is a name of the compound used, we tested olesoxime in another neurodegenerative disease, so the ALS. ALS is a very, very severe disease and once people are diagnosed with that disease 80% of them are died before the three-year after that. And once the diagnosis is done more than 50% of the motor neurons are destroyed, are dead. So we have discovered that after having done this clinical trial and that's why our compound can't rescue dead neurons, it can the principal mechanism of action is to slow down the degenerations of the neurons.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so in the end it wasn't the appropriate disease to treat?
Christine Placet:
It was not the appropriate disease to test our compound, it's that's why we are confident in the current ongoing trial the one in SMA, because SMA is a very slow degenerative disease, it can take 20-years or more.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so you've got a better chance of seeing the effect with this particular drug?
Christine Placet:
Yes, really.
Fintan Walton:
And you are also looking at other indications as well?
Christine Placet:
Yes, so with the same compound olesoxime we are now entering in a Phase IB in multiple sclerosis (MS). We are very exciting with that new program and we have a scheduled Phase II study in 2014 and we are exciting because this is a novel approach, there are already existing treatments for multiple sclerosis but those treatments are aiming the inflammatory mechanism, we with olesoxime we want to target the neurodegenerative process of the disease by repairing the myelin around the sheath around the axon.
Fintan Walton:
Okay.
Christine Placet:
Just to add few words about SMA, SMA as I said is a rare disease and the actual trial is a Phase II/III, that means that if we obtain positive results we will be in a position to go directly to the registration, so we are not too far from the market.
Fintan Walton:
So what is the third program?
Christine Placet:
The third program is in cardiology with another compound, we called it the TRO40303, which is not an easy name, this is a program to target the Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury in the case of myocardial infarct.
Fintan Walton:
Okay. So and what stage is that in clinical?
Christine Placet:
So this is a Phase II study.
Fintan Walton:
Really, okay.
Christine Placet:
This is a Phase II study and the objective is to obtain a proof of concept.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, now the company is private?
Christine Placet:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
Obviously doing drug development is costly?
Christine Placet:
Sure.
Fintan Walton:
You used to be the CFO so you know how to spend money.
Christine Placet:
Sure yes, absolutely.
Partnering strategy
Fintan Walton:
But in the end you also have to look for partners, so what is your partnering strategy?
Christine Placet:
So we are now looking for partner to combine our development especially in MS for example, because we are strong enough to perform by ourselves the Phase IB and the Phase II which is, which are funded so far, but the Phase III will be an extensive trial and we want to partner to benefit both from funding and experience of another company and the same for 303 in the cardiac indication.
Government funding
Fintan Walton:
Christine, government funding how important is that to your organization?
Christine Placet:
It's very important. Since the inception of Trophos, our shareholders financed Trophos so far global amount of 29 million Euros, but in a whole we have guzzled under nearly expense 74 million Euros, and the other part of the finance comes from different sources, we have developed an ability to found alternative funding such as patient associations. We are working with the AFM, French Patient Association since 2000, and they are financing the SMAprogram. Then we have obtained different grants from the French Government OSEO and INR, which are French Agencies sustaining, helping for research and we also have built big consortia to address and obtain financing from the EU, from the European Community, and so far we have obtained two of those, there one is ongoing and finances our cardiac program. So we have gathered a consortia of big scientists in different European countries and we are leading that group and conducting clinical trial in four or five different countries, and we are now building another consortium in MS, sorry in multiple sclerosis, we are working with the world leader specialist of MS and they are very exciting to work with us in that program, and altogether we will try to maybe obtain further financing from the EU.
Fintan Walton:
And this is the FP7 portfolio?
Christine Placet:
This is the FP7 program, absolutely.
Future plans
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so what are the key events that you see happening over the next year or two?
Christine Placet:
So we are waiting for results in our cardiac indication, we are waiting for results by Q2 2013. And then we will have the results of the Phase II/III in SMA by end of 2013, and we will have to wait a bit more for the proof of concept in MS which is expected by the early 2016.
Fintan Walton:
Well we look forward to hearing the results over the next few months. Thank you very much indeed for coming on the show Christine.
Christine Placet:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Christine Placet
Chief Executive Officer
At the time of recording this PTV interview Christine Placet serves as CEO at Trophos. Ms. Placet has over 25 years' experience in a variety of areas of finance, having joined Trophos as CFO in 2004. She has also been a CFO in a number of growing companies and start-ups and a variety of industries, and worked as an auditor for 8 years for Ernst & Young. She has a Graduate Diploma in financial accounting (DESCF), a Business school diploma - Sup de Co Marseille (DESCAF) and a DUT in Business Management.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Trophos
Trophos is a late stage clinical stage company with a pipeline of original molecules in development for neurological and cardiac diseases. These diseases include spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) disability progression and Cardiac Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury (IRI). Trophos additionally has collaborative research projects in other neurological conditions. The SMA and MS disability progression indications are both orphan indications " rare diseases underserved by the medical community. The IRI indication is a niche, hospital indication. They have either no current treatment (SMA and IRI) or extremely limited options (MS disability progression.) These indications have market potential ranging from more than $200 million for SMA, more than $500 million for IRI to more than $1 billion for MS disability progression. The Trophos management team brings together over 100 years of both commercial and scientific experience in drug discovery and development from biotech and major pharmaceutical companies. This ensures that drug candidates are developed using rigorous lead optimization, preclinical evaluation, clinical testing and commercial pricing and reimbursement evaluations. Trophos was founded in 1999, is based in Marseille, France and currently has 28 employees.