Juan Costello: Thanks for joining us today Dr. Danter.
Dr. Wayne Danter: You are very welcome. Thanks for the opportunity.
Juan Costello: Certainly. Now, starting off, give us a brief history and overview of the company for some of the listeners that are new to your story.
Dr. Wayne Danter: Sure, the company was formed around a core technology based on Artificial Intelligence. So, the principle was very simple--If you start off with better starting points you will likely end up with higher quality products at the end of the drug discovery process. So, following that concept we took a partly traditional drug discovery process, created computer simulations of each one of those individual elements, validated the simulations on external data, and then put it back together into a platform that we currently are applying to drug discovery and preclinical drug development.
Juan Costello: In terms of COTI-2 can you talk about some of the positive results there?
Dr. Wayne Danter: COTI-2 is the first commercial project out of our core technology, which is now heading towards the clinic and should be Phase I ready by the end of this year. It was originally discovered in a project done for a big pharma company looking at treatment for small cell lung cancer. They subsequently lost interest in that project, and based on the early results we took it internally as our first commercial project. We have had a lot of success in the preclinical development of COTI-2. It has behaved very much like the computer simulations have predicted and the most recent data that appeared in our press release [June 11, 2013] has to do with the mechanism of action of the drug candidate based on experiments carried out at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. We have done a lot of work in cell lines and animals and we are pointed in one direction towards a slightly different pathway but with the help of Dr. Gordon Mills from MD Anderson we have focused in on p53 gene mutations. P53 is particularly important because mutations of that gene are found in at least 50% of all human cancers. Finding a drug that will impact that particular gene mutation has a great potential-- it will benefit a lot of people.
Juan Costello: Can you expand on some of the recent trends right now in this sector and how you are positioning the company to capitalize on them?
Dr. Wayne Danter: The trend nowadays is moving more and more towards gene-based types of therapies and by that I mean focusing in on gene mutations that are common in different cancers and trying to find small molecule solutions to mitigate those gene mutations. The basic concept is that the gene mutation ends up producing abnormal protein and that abnormal protein, either through increased signaling or decreased signaling in the cell, tends to lead to a cancer like transformation in many cells. The trend I think used to be trying to find blockbuster drugs for organ type tumors. Everybody has heard about the blockbuster drugs for lung cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer, but I think the trend really is away from that and towards drugs that specifically target gene mutations in a number of different types of cancers. For example, there is a wide range in the presence of p53 mutations across all human cancers. It may go from 10% to 20% in some types of lung cancer up to more than 90% in ovarian cancer. Most of the human cancers would be scattered in between that 20% and 90% in terms of the prevalence of a p53 mutation.
Juan Costello: What do you feel makes COT unique from some of the other players in the sector?
Dr. Wayne Danter: Well, I think it’s primarily our underlying technology, which has many applications. While we use it currently for internal projects we also have a number of co-development projects with external pharma and biotech partners to help them discover new compounds with a higher probability of success against their targets that they think are important internally.
We have other avenues that we are also exploring right now and I think the long term for us sees us heading towards more of an intellectual property technology type of company that right now is focused in the pharmaceutical space.
Juan Costello: What are some of the specific goals and milestones that you and the team are hoping to accomplish over the course of the next year?
Dr. Wayne Danter: The first goal is to partner our lead asset COTI-2 with a pharma biotech partner and that’s going very well. We’re looking to out-license that asset in the next 6-8 months. Behind that we have our second program, which is an AML project which has partial funding from Canadian government and we will be bringing that along as our next commercial asset. In addition to that we will be doing more research and development, co-development type projects with universities, pharmas and biotechs and we have three of those ongoing right now and another one in the works that we hope to announce shortly. We are also at present filing patents around new intellectual property that includes a computer simulation of a programmable cancer cell.
Juan Costello: And as far as investors in the financial community are concerned Dr. Danter do you believe that the Critical Outcome story and your message and upside are completely understood and appreciated by them? And if not, what do you wish investors better understood about the company?
Dr. Wayne Danter: Well, I think that one of the main things to understand about our company is that we are not a one-trick-pony. The technology allows us to have multiple projects, both external and internal going on simultaneously. And most of our investors have been aware that if one project for whatever reason doesn’t come to fruition there is one or two or three other projects that are going on simultaneously. So, it’s a much different type of investment than the traditional biotech investment around one or two assets, they either fail or they are successful.
We have a very robust core technology and given the non-sustainable nature of the traditional approach to drug discovery, we think that we are very well positioned for the future.
Juan Costello: Well, we certainly look forward to continue and attract the company’s growth and report on your upcoming progress and we would like to thank you for taking the time to join us today.
Dr. Wayne Danter: You are welcome and thank you for the opportunity.