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ABLYNX: Preview 1H11 update

ABLYNX: Preview 1H11 update

23.8.2011 13:02

Ablynx will publish its 1H11 financial results on Thursday 25 August after market closure. A conference call is scheduled at 4 PM (1 0500 CZK, 0,59%) CET on Friday 26 August.

Our View:
We expect first half revenues of close to € 13m, of which about € 12m from R&D income (including the € 5m milestone payment of Boehringer Ingelheim) and about € 1m from grants.

Operational expenses are expected to have increased to over € 35m, of which € 4.5m in G&A costs and € 31m in R&D expense. The latter is an increase of +45% versus 1H10, due to the increasing number of proprietary clinical programs and the advancement of several preclinical programs within the pharma partnerships. Including a smallpositive financial result, we see the net loss for 1H11 amounting to over € 22m (versus € 15m in 1H10).

Taking these operational expenses into account, we estimate a net cash position at the end of June of around € 94m (versus € 116m at YE10). Note that the company guided for a FY11 net cash burn of € 25-35m, depending on the milestones of partners and/or closing of new deals, suggesting that the coming months should bring about substantially more cash-inflows than in 1H11.

We assume the company will provide an update on its most important clinical programs. This could include more colour on the recently presented data of ALX-0081 in TTP whereby the safety observations raised some questions amongst investors. We expect an update of the phase II study of ALX-0081 in ACS in the near-term, though next Thursday may be too soon to do so. Investors are reminded that the bar for successfully crossing the efficacy threshold in this study is set very high, and we estimate achievement of the primary endpoint to be unlikely (to which we have anticipated previously by lowering our probability of success estimates for the von Willebrand Factor programs).

We believe investors will be most interested in an update on Ablynx/Pfizer’s anti-TNF-alpha program, although we assume it will be too early in the decision making process forthe big pharma partner to communicate on the next development steps (we expect such communication not before the end of 2011).

Ablynx and its pharma partners have proven on multiple occasions and in different disease indications that the Nanobody platform has the potential to generate effective therapeutic products. Hence, investors are increasingly shifting their focus to the progress and commercial opportunity of Ablynx’ clinical drug candidates and the cash-inflows from its partners in order to keep the cash burn under control.

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