Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. (SNTA)
Q1 2010 Earnings Conference Call
May 4, 2010 10:00 AM ET
Rob Kloppenburg – VP, IR and Corporate Communications
Safi Bahcall – CEO
Keith Ehrlich – CFO
Jason Kantor – RBC Capital Markets
Ryan Martin – Barclays Capital
Andrew Vaino – Roth Capital Partners
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Good morning and thank you all for taking the time to join us today. With me are Dr. Safi Bahcall our Chief Executive Officer, Keith Ehrlich, our Chief Financial Officer and Dr. Vojo Vukovic, Synta’s Chief Medical Officer. This morning we issued a press release that reported results for the first quarter of 2010. This release can be found on our website at www.syntapharma.com. Before we begin I would like to point out that we will be making forward-looking statements based on our current intent, belief and expectations. They are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and I encourage everyone to look at the SEC filings for additional detail.
I will now turn the call over to Dr. Bahcall, after which we’ll open the floor to questions. Safi?
Thanks Rob and thank you for joining us this morning. Today I’ll give a brief update on our program and Keith Ehrlich will summarize our first quarter financials. I would like to start by saying this is an exciting time at Synta because we’re in a period with many new trials being initiated and results from earlier trials maturing. As a result, we expect to have considerable data flow for the rest of this year and into next year.
STA-9090 our Hsp90 inhibitor is now in five phase II trials including the new colon and gastric cancer trials announced today. The three previously initiated phase II trial in lung cancer, GIST and AML are enrolling well.
We are pleased that the tolerability of the drug continues to be positive and appears to show certain distinct advantages over other Hsp90 inhibitors. Results to-date from our two solid tumor phase I trials will be presented at ASCO, which will describe the safety and tolerability in greater detail. Preliminary results from the first stage of each of our phase II lung, GIST and AML trials will be available in the second half of the year.
We’ll be discussing with the lead investigators on these trials, the most appropriate meetings to present these results and we’ll let you know when we have the meeting presentation scheduled.
We are excited about the opportunity for 9090 in the new phase II indications announced today, colon cancer and gastric cancer.
There is a good scientific rationale on these tumor types based on the underlying pathways targeted by 9090. In addition, in our phase I trial we did see a response, which qualified as the confirmed partial response by RECIST criteria in a colorectal cancer patient with progress in numerous prior therapies.
The phase I activity profile as well as safety profile will be discussed in greater detail at ASCO next month.
We are very pleased to be working with leading investigators with such high profile institutions as Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York and Mass General Hospital in Boston.
This reflects our approach to building a strong support network in a scientific and medical community for 9090 driven by the data from the drug and the broad therapeutic potential.
To this end we’re confirming our prior guidance and very much look forward to announcing an additional four to eight week trial for 9090 for a total of 6 to 10 new trials this year.
The breadth and quality of this program position 9090 to be the leading Hsp90 inhibitor in the industry. That is our goal and we are fully committed to leading this field.
I’d like to give a brief update on Elesclomol today as well. At ASCO last month we presented results showing that anticancer activity of Elesclomol correlates with level of HIF-1a and LDH.
Essentially Elesclomol needs oxygen to work. Low levels of oxygen in cells reduce Elesclomol activity. These results are consistent with the results from both our phase II B and phase III melanoma trial in which only the normal LDH population showed benefit from Elesclomol. As a reminder, that it’s not a small population but rather the majority across both trials.
Based on the positive results seen for Elesclomol in an ex-vivo analysis in patients with acute myeloid leukemia, which were presented at ASH in December as well as our prior supporting data for Elesclomol in hematologic cancers, we’re in discussions to initiate a trial for Elesclomol in AML. We expect this trial to start before the end of this year.
Finally, with regard to partnerships, our guidance has not changed from our last call. We continue to be in active discussions for each of unpartnered programs and are targeting concluding at least one partnership this year. I will now turn the call over to Keith Ehrlich.
Thank you Safi and good morning everyone. Together with a $26.7 million of net proceeds raised in our follow-on offering of common stock in January 2010, we entered 2010 with approximately $71 million of cash resources. As of March 31, 2010 our cash balance was approximately $58 million.