awesome interview with Kriegsman!
Ken Sgro: This is Ken Sgro with CEOcast. My guest today is Steve Kriegsman. Steve is the Chief Executive Officer of CytRx Corporation, a Nasdaq company that trades under the symbol CYTR. Welcome to CEOcast, Steve.
Steve Kriegsman: Thank you Ken.
KS: Why don't we start off with brief overview of CytRx? You're a relatively new CEO as the result of a merger. Give us a little bit of the background on that.
SK: The merger took place in July, 2002. The merger closed on July 19th. We ran a company called Global Genomics that was in the genomics field. The CytRx Corporation management felt they wanted to extend their reach not only into biopharmaceuticals, but also into the genomics area. We felt there was a good synergistic relationship there. We merged Global Genomics into CytRx, and moved the corporate headquarters from Atlanta, Georgia to Los Angeles. The management team of CytRx took severance payments and left. Most of the board members of CytRx stayed on. We added new board members, including a Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Dr. Louis Ignarro, and one of the co-founders of Amgen, Dr. Joseph Rubinfeld. I came on as CEO of CytRx to run the new company.
KS: What did the old company do?
SK: CytRx did, and still does, essentially the following:
They have three technology platforms. I'll start with the easiest one first. The easiest one is called OptiVax and TranzFect. They are vaccine enhancements. OptiVax is a conventional adjuvant, while TranzFect is a DNA-based adjuvant. We have strategic alliances for those adjuvants, which go with an antigen in a vaccine. Our technology provides a booster shot for a vaccine. We have two strategic alliances on the TranzFect side. One is with Merck on their HIV vaccine and three other infectious diseases. We are in phase I with them on the clinical trial for their HIV vaccine. The other one is with a Nasdaq company called Vical. We have out-licensed other adjuvants to Vical. They are being used for gene delivery and other vaccines. Those are our DNA adjuvants. We also have conventional adjuvants which are non-DNA and those adjuvants could be used in such areas as malaria, hepatitis B, where we could be able to have a one shot vaccine instead of a three shot right now. Anthrax is another area that our OptiVax technology could be appropriate for, as well as cancer. Those are some of the areas that our vaccine enhancement technology could be developed for.
Another platform, and probably our lead platform, is a technology called FLOCOR. FLOCOR is a technology that has been investigated in over 17 clinical studies and it has been administered to approximately 4000 patients and healthy volunteers. It's been in a cardiac trial as well as a sickle cell trial. In the cardiac trial, it was efficacious in the phase II trial, but in the phase III trial the compound appears to have been given too late and it was not particularly effective although close to $60 million was spent on it. That trial would have to be re-run. In the phase III trial for sickle cell, the indications were favorable with babies and young adults up to the age of 15. When it was tested in a broader population with older adults and adults in general, it was found that it didn't work particularly well. A new trial would have to be designed there. The beauty of FLOCOR is that it may work in many other diseases- not only cardiac, but potentially stroke, obviously sickle cell, spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and oncology as well. It's already a compound that's been in humans and that's very beneficial.
Our third platform technology is in an area where for some reason, I don't think the street is aware of it. It is unique technology. I will first describe it in scientific terms. It's called the Efflux Pump Inhibitor, an anti-microbial technology. Now let me simplify it. It's basically technology that works in chemotherapy and antibiotics. By that I mean, many individuals are, for some reason, resistant to certain antibiotics, and it's a real problem because if they don't take to the antibiotic, they could die. The same with chemotherapy. When you use our compound, which is an offshoot of FLOCOR, and add it to an antibiotic, or a chemo therapeutic, it results in the resistance diminishing. At least this has been the case in tests run in animal models.
The Efflux Pump Inhibitor market is estimated at $5 billion by our outside scientific consultants, the FLOCOR market is substantial also, and our consultants feel on an overall basis our technology in cardiovascular, vaccines, and Efflux addresses potential markets of more than $10 billion annually. We have platform technology and also have 24 issued US patents and extensive international patent coverage that makes our intellectual property portfolio very powerful, through 2015. That's our basic technology.
The only other area that I want to make you aware of is that we have a growth hormone that's been out-licensed to Ivy Animal Health. It's for bovine and poultry and it also has applications in fish. That's the other technology that we've out-licensed.
Those are our technology platforms, Ken....