BioVista Inc. Graham Anthony ,working with pharma companies to help them get best out of their own drugs




Episode Loading...




PharmaTelevision requires Javascript enabled and Adobe Flash Player to watch our programmes. If you do not have Flash installed, you can download it for free from the Adobe Flash homepage.

Improve your Internet experience and start watching exciting new video content.

Video title: BioVista Inc. Graham Anthony ,working with pharma companies to help them get best out of their own drugs
Released on: November 16, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
Share/save this page:
Email
Bookmark
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Follow us:
RSS
Twitter
  • Summary
  • Transcript
  • Participants
  • Company
In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Graham Anthouny, CFO of BioVista Inc.
USP and science of Biovista
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BioPharm America in Boston, in September 2011. On this show I have Graham Anthony, who is Chief Financial Officer of a company called Biovista which is based both in Charlottesville, Virginia and also in Athens, Greece. Welcome to the show.
Graham Anthony:
Thank you very much, it's a pleasure to be here.
Fintan Walton:
Good. And Graham, could you tell us what is Biovista? What is the company and what is its mission?
Graham Anthony:
Well Biovista is at its sort of basic level a collection of the hard work and knowledge that people who've done to date, and what we have done is hopefully done a better way to collect (indiscernable) and make access for that information and use it in productive ways to advance science.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so that's very succinct, I am sure it is a little bit more depth to it than now you've just said?
Graham Anthony:
Yes we bet.
Fintan Walton:
Yes, okay. So let's this try and delve into that depth, first of all just give us a little bit about the history, I understand you were founded in 1996?
Graham Anthony:
Yes there were two brothers who had grown up in Athens, Greece hence the connection there and they had gone off, this was many years ago they've gone off to United Kingdom for education, one got it's PhD in Biochemistry from Cambridge University there and the other got his PhD in Artificial Intelligence at Strathclyde which was one of the centres of Artificial Intelligence and still is and then they went off to have careers in industry. One became I believe it was nature biotechnologies new innovations and I believe have that correct and the other went to work for a very large European companies developing their artificial intelligence capabilities, and as is want to be done two brothers have been known to get together and have a (indiscernable) in England from time to time and they said wouldn't it be great if we could after you know 15, 20-years of working in industry come together and do a project together and they both been very successful in their product careers and had some, some folding on it to be able to afford to do that and so they brought the business together and originally it started thinking that much of what a drug discovery has been done in traditional ways for decades and very much the same way is wouldn't it be great if we could apply some of the current artificial intelligence tools and information gathering capabilities to advance science and I think they've done a rather good job doing that.
Fintan Walton:
So the intellectual property or the USP of Biovista is pulling that knowledge together to apply it to help companies develop drugs or to take existing drugs and reposition them or what exactly?
Graham Anthony:
Well I think the answer to both is yes. The business model is more specific, but at it's core the way I look at Biovista is if you would bring together every research scientist together overtime that have existed into one room and get them to talk with the speed of light about that which they know the most you come up with some pretty interesting insights and that fortunately thanks to the wealth of knowledge that's been collected over the years there roughly $100 billion of research that's done at least in the United States I believe every year from both the NIH and the FDA and the other government entities along with pharma itself collectively about $100 billion are spending year on research much of that research is published whether that's through pubmed, or in the top journals, or by over the results by FDA airs and all that research is accessible, but not very useful and what we've tried to do is make that research both accessible and useful using the tools that have been developed over the last you know couple of decades.
Fintan Walton:
So it's the artificial intelligence, the algorithms that you can pull from data and information that exist today to transform that into as I suppose a readable, and accessible, and applicable make it applied to finding new drugs?
Graham Anthony:
Yes, I would say that is and it's also we would like to think of it both as a science and an art, and the science part we've just described but then there is our team of MD/PhD's that have worked with this for the last decade and founded ways to use these tools to be very successful and because not all information is created equal and not all information is useful, but one piece of information which might be useful in predicting efficacy might not be as valuable in predicting safety or predicting the sub populations there would be like to be very strong responders versus the sub populations that were non-responders or adverse responders and what we try and do at Biovista whether it's for ourselves, for own portfolio or for our clients such as Pfizer and Novartis for their portfolio's is we try and help them understand with the given compound what is the optimal indication to target and what is the safest way to go about doing that, what is the benefit and the risk per say and part of it what we do once we help identify the benefit is lay out the risk in great detail, what are the comorbidities that could be adversely affected by this drug, what patient populations are most likely to be good responders and more importantly what patient responders are like to be adverse responders and we try and help eliminate those from the test set to increase the odds of success in the clinic.
Fintan Walton:
So you apply predictive I suppose algorithms to try and determine an outcome for a particular drug and therefore you can go back and modify that drug so it has a different outcome?
Graham Anthony:
We are not (indiscernable) mechanists, but some of our partners have great (indiscernable) chemistry capability and so we can either repo take an existing drug, so for example in our Pfizer collaboration [PharmaDeals ID = 38079] I believe is in the press release we are looking at clinical stage drugs post-IND and pre NDA and helping them say is the remit of the group are working with their the remit was is this the optimal indication to go after and if so you know what are the other indications that we might proceed.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so just get this so make this clear so there are several ways in which you can analyze or access the drugs a future performance, one is its scientific clinical from a scientific and clinical perspective the other one is from a commercial perspective?
Graham Anthony:
Exactly.
Fintan Walton:
So do you just purely work on the scientific environment or do you also work in the commercial environment?
Graham Anthony:
For our own portfolio we run the process in reverse, we say what are the unmet medical needs that are both A) the largest commercial interesting markets and B) the least expensive and pain the test and of course things like oncology are wonderful in that way because the Path II approval is somewhat easier than say very large neurodegenerative diseases.
Biovista's Dual Business model
Fintan Walton:
So again to understand what you do you talked about your own projects, so lets go back to your business model are you a service based company providing services to the pharmaceutical industry or do you have dual business model which is does that together with your own development of your own drugs?
Graham Anthony:
I think it's kind of I believe we are part of the pharmacology all of us in this industry are part of the pharmacology at the end of the day that those of us that are focused on the discovery part of the equation in somewhere or another work for pharma whether it's investing our own capital to advance a drug to a certain part or beginning with them in partnerships to advance their drugs using a collaborative techniques to advance their candidates, it is really all part of the same ecology and so when you know when it is biotech companies that are funded by venture groups you know they spend 10, 20, 50 a $100 million to advance the drug through Phase II, Phase IIb et cetera, they are still part of the pharmacology because at the end of the day it's the Pfizer's, the Novartis's and the Lilly's and the Shire's and the and you know the AstraZenecas that are probably going to advance those drugs into the marketplace and there are few people that are (indiscernable) but I think we are all part of that larger ecology. So we both have advanced our own candidates in order to prove to the marketplace that we can do what we say we can do and we have number of nice candidates that I would like say are Phase IIa ready please come talk to us and we've also worked with a number of pharma companies Novartis [PharmaDeals id="40435"/> and Pfizer [PharmaDeals ID = 38079] to work with collaboratively with their teams to advance their candidates to the next level.
Fintan Walton:
So in the end then you are basically a biotech company or a specialty pharmaceutical company?
Graham Anthony:
We would like to say that, yes.
Future goal of Biovista
Fintan Walton:
Okay. So what is it I mean I've got some idea about what is Biovista is about, when I asked you, you just said you are not really medicinal chemist, so again you are specialty pharmaceutical company you work with other pharma companies to help them get best out of their own drugs, you have your own clinical program, so I suppose that brings us into where you want to go to in your business model? What is the ultimate goal of Biovista is it to be a specialty pharmaceutical company standing on it's own two feet or is it just simply something that you talk about this ecology that it sits within the ecology of the pharmaceutical industry which I am still getting trying to get my head around, but I think I got it, but may be you can just give us a little bit more clarity around that?
Graham Anthony:
Sure, you know looking at the as I do I come from outside of the industry but looking at the pharmaceutical industry there is an ecology there is the primary research that's done in the labs in the universities there is the early discovery people doing applied research as opposed to primary research, there is the folks who take those through the early clinical stages and then there are the larger organizations that tend to take them through the full Phase II, Phase III and NDA trials and then up through in the end to the marketplace, you know Phase III it's the end to the marketplace. I look at this ecology and I say at the end of the day this is the delivery channel for health and our nation of course it goes from there to the specialty payers in the hospital et cetera, we are feeding this channel and where we playing that channel is simply a matter of how we can create the most value, yes we have our own candidates, yes we provide consulting services for Pfizer and Novartis and other entities looking to more effectively and efficiently finally uses for their drugs, but we also do some work and perhaps the future might be building on our collaboration with the FDA, we have worked with the FDA's Office of Clinical Pharmacology informally first for about four years and now formally for a little over a year and a half to look at certain drugs of interest of theirs and try and work with them and collaborative things to predict perhaps what might happen in the clinic before it occurs, and you know we are in early stages and what it is called proactive pharmacovigilance that's with the FDA calls it but it's been a very nice and productive collaboration and we've been very, very pleased with it and perhaps the most value we can help create is helping people avoiding those steps in the clinic, because so much money is spent on the clinic, I was talking to a gentleman from one large pharma there is a drug coming out for approval tomorrow and he said they have over $3 billion investment in that drug, boy it's sure would be nice to pick the right drugs if you gonna spend that kind of money and make sure they make it safely through the clinic and perhaps that's the way we can help the in the future as well.
Fintan Walton:
Right and just going to the future, what is the future of Biovista coming back to that pipeline?
Graham Anthony:
We have a nice little pipeline of a number of pharmacist that want to work with us and so our immediate future is triaging those partnerships and collaborations. So we are a little bit like a we gonna be working awfully hard for the immediate future and not really have a lot of time to think about the big picture just delivering for our clients I guess that will be the future.
Fintan Walton:
Graham Anthony, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Graham Anthony:
It was indeed a pleasure. Thank you so much for having us.
Fintan Walton:
Thanks for coming on.
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).
Graham Anthony
Chief Financial Officer
Graham Anthony is currently Biovista's Chief Financial Officer and Chairman of its Advisory Board. In this role, Graham will help Biovista build and monetize its IP estate, assess new business opportunities and coordinate Biovista's response to future investment interest. Graham recently led Biovista's first outside round of funding, which was completed in 7 days and 4x oversubscribed. Since 2000, both as an advisor and as a principal, Graham has assisted various firms in completing over 30 fundraisings, acquisitions & divestitures in a diverse range of industries. Recent investments include: TeamScreen, a business services firm using advanced web technologies to reduce costs & Greenlight Energy, a Wind Energy firm recently sold to BP. Past clients include private equity firms: The Jordan Company, Republic Financial Corporation, Royal Palm Capital Partners, Quaker Capital Management & Falcon Mezzanine Investments. Since 2000, Graham has been a speaker on Mergers & Acquisitions and Benchmarking to groups ranging from ISPCON (the Internet Services Provider Conference) to the National Pest Management Association to the American Wind Energy Association, where he was author of the 2005, 2006 and 2007 studies on "Value Creation at Each Stage of the Wind Development Process." In the 1990s, Graham worked on $4 Billion of Senior Debt, Subordinated Debt & Equity offerings at Bankers Trust (now Deutsche Bank) in their Leveraged Finance Department. Early in his career, Graham founded, ran and sold two businesses: a small manufacturing firm and a regional newspaper. Graham received his MBA from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, where he was awarded a Batten Fellowship. He holds a BA in English from the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences.
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.
Biovista
Biovista began operations in 1996 with the initial aim of supplying business intelligence products and services to the life sciences industry. Since then, Biovista developed a novel, unique and state-of-the art technology that has allowed Biovista to offer distinct value in basic research, clinical development and consumer health, in addition to supporting own internal efforts in finding new uses for existing drugs. Biovista's customer base includes pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic institutions, and research and government organizations in the US, EU and Asia.