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ASLAN Pharmaceuticals Reports First Quarter 2019 Financial Results and Provides Corporate Update

SINGAPORE, April 29, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ASLAN Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:ASLN, TPEx:6497), a clinical stage oncology and immunology focused biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for global markets, today reported financial results for the quarter ended 31 March 2019 and provided an update on its clinical activities.

Dr Carl Firth, Chief Executive Officer, ASLAN Pharmaceuticals, said: “I am pleased with the pace of our accomplishments so far in 2019 and anticipate the achievement of additional key milestones later in the year. As reported, we completed recruitment for our pivotal study testing varlitinib in biliary tract cancer ahead of schedule and remain on track to report topline results in the second half of this year. Dosing of the fourth cohort in our phase 2 trial testing ASLAN003 in acute myeloid leukemia is continuing. In addition, we have completed dosing in the single ascending dose study of ASLAN004 and are on track to move into a multiple ascending dose study in patients with atopic dermatitis with this differentiated product candidate in the second half of 2019.”

First quarter 2019 and recent business highlights

Clinical development

Varlitinib

  • The varlitinib global pivotal TreeTopp (TREatmEnT OPPortunity) study completed patient enrolment ahead of schedule with the recruitment of 127 patients with biliary tract cancer (BTC) who failed first line therapy from 56 sites worldwide including the US, Europe, Australia, Japan, Korea, and other Asia Pacific countries. The trial is ongoing and proceeding according to plan.
  • In January, positive varlitinib data was presented in first-line biliary tract cancer in combination with chemotherapy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (ASCO GI). The data demonstrated a response rate of 44% across all evaluable patients and a 60% response rate in the highest dose cohort, compared to historical rates of 26% with current standard of care treatment.

ASLAN003

  • Completed the third cohort (100mg BID) in phase 2a trial testing ASLAN003 in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Six patients recruited into the fourth cohort (200mg BID). All patients are currently ongoing.

ASLAN004

  • Completed the first part of the phase 1 single ascending dose (SAD) study testing the intravenous formulation of the first-in-class therapeutic antibody ASLAN004 in healthy volunteers. ASLAN004 is a fully human monoclonal antibody that binds to the IL-13 receptor α1 subunit (IL-13Rα1), blocking signalling of two pro-inflammatory cytokines, IL-4 and IL-13, which are central to triggering symptoms of atopic dermatitis, such as redness and itching of the skin. Analysis of downstream mediators demonstrated complete inhibition within one hour of dosing, which was then maintained for more than 29 days, suggesting monthly dosing may be achievable.
  • Last patient dosed in the second part of the ongoing SAD trial on 27 March. ASLAN is testing a subcutaneous formulation and expects to report data from this part of the study in May. Initiation of a multiple ascending dose study in patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis is planned for the second half of 2019.

Corporate updates

  • In February, ASLAN entered into an agreement with BioGenetics Co Ltd that granted exclusive commercialisation rights for varlitinib in all indications in South Korea. ASLAN received an upfront payment of US$2 million and can receive up to US$11 million in sales and development milestones. ASLAN is also eligible to receive tiered royalties on net sales from the high-teens to the mid-twenties range.
  • In March, ASLAN entered into a second agreement with BioGenetics Co Ltd that granted exclusive commercialisation rights for ASLAN003 in all indications in South Korea. Under terms of the agreement, ASLAN received an upfront payment of US$1 million and is eligible to receive up to US$8 million in sales and development milestones. ASLAN is also eligible to receive tiered royalties on net sales from the high-teens to the mid-twenties range.

Anticipated upcoming milestones

  • Topline global pivotal trial (TreeTopp) data on varlitinib as second line treatment for biliary tract cancer in the second half of 2019.
  • Part 1 readout of ASLAN003 phase 2 trial in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Completion of single ascending dose trial for ASLAN004 in atopic dermatitis in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Initiation of a multiple ascending dose trial for ASLAN004 in patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis in the second half of 2019.

First quarter 2019 financial results  

  • Cash used in operations for the quarter ended 31 March 2019 was US$7.2 million compared to US$10.0 million in the same period in 2018.
  • Research and development (R&D) expense was US$4.4 million and general and administrative (G&A) expense was US$2.3 million for the first quarter of 2019, compared to US$5.6 million and US$2.8 million, respectively, in the same period in 2018. The decrease in R&D expense was due to the completion of clinical studies and lower manufacturing expenses. The decrease in G&A expense was the result of the restructuring implemented in January 2019.
  • Net loss for the first quarter of 2019 was US$4.3 million compared to a net loss of US$8.7 million for the first quarter of 2018. The narrower loss in the first quarter of 2019 was due primarily to recognition of the US$3 million upfront payment from the licensing agreements with BioGenetics Co Ltd and lower operational costs.  
  • Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled US$21.6 million as of 31 March 2019 compared to US$28.9 million as of 31 December 2018. Weighted average shares outstanding for the first quarter of 2019 was 160.2 million compared to 130.2 million for the first quarter of 2018. One American Depositary Share is the equivalent of five ordinary shares.

ASLAN Pharmaceuticals Limited
Consolidated Balance Sheet1
(in US dollars, unaudited)

    March 31, 2019
(Reviewed)
    December 31, 2018
(Audited)
 
           
ASSETS   Amount     Amount  
CURRENT ASSETS          
Cash and cash equivalents   $     21,620,307     $     28,908,901    
Accounts receivable       1,000,000         -    
Prepayments         248,300           183,599    
Total current assets         22,868,607           29,092,500    
           
           
NON-CURRENT ASSETS          
           
Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss       60,004         60,004    
Financial assets at fair value through other comprehensive income       187,244         187,244    
Property, plant and equipment       226,149         288,418    
Right-of-use assets       267,111         -    
Intangible assets       23,079,180         23,080,592    
Refundable deposits         174,206           172,080    
Total non-current assets         23,993,894           23,788,338    
TOTAL   $     46,862,501     $     52,880,838    
           
           
LIABILITIES AND EQUITY          
CURRENT LIABILITIES          
Trade payables   $     3,706,431     $     5,315,737    
Other payables       2,094,057         2,682,661    
Lease liabilities - current         223,833           -    
Total current liabilities         6,024,321           7,998,398    
           
NON-CURRENT LIABILITIES          
Long-term borrowings       14,139,819         13,974,794    
Lease liabilities - non-current       42,238         -    
Other non-current liabilities         365,230           289,613    
  Total non-current liabilities         14,547,287           14,264,407    
  Total liabilities         20,571,608           22,262,805    
           
           
           
           
EQUITY          
Ordinary shares       51,627,219         51,627,219    
Capital surplus       111,476,574         111,459,672    
Accumulated deficits       (136,812,900 )       (132,468,858 )  
Total equity         26,290,893           30,618,033    
TOTAL   $     46,862,501     $     52,880,838    
           
           
           
           

ASLAN Pharmaceuticals Limited
Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income1
(in US dollars, unaudited)

    For the Three Months Ended March 31  
     2019       2018  
    Amount
      Amount    
               
SALES   $   3,000,000       $     -      
OPERATING COSTS         100,000             -      
GROSS PROFIT         2,900,000             -      
OPERATING EXPENSES              
General and administrative       (2,256,361 )         (2,807,871 )    
Research and development       (4,449,532 )         (5,622,802 )    
Total operating expenses       (6,705,893 )         (8,430,673 )    
LOSS FROM OPERATIONS       (3,805,893 )         (8,430,673 )    
NON-OPERATING INCOME AND EXPENSES              
Interest income       69,024           61,546      
Other gains and losses       (404,555 )         (262,426 )    
Finance costs         (199,700 )           (112,275 )    
Total non-operating income and expenses         (535,231 )           (313,155 )    
LOSS BEFORE INCOME TAX       (4,341,124 )         (8,743,828 )    
INCOME TAX EXPENSE         (2,918 )           -      
NET LOSS FOR THE PERIOD       (4,344,042 )         (8,743,828 )    
               
               
               
TOTAL COMPREHENSIVE LOSS FOR THE PERIOD   $   (4,344,042 )     $   (8,743,828 )    
               
LOSS PER SHARE              
Basic   $     (0.03 )     $       (0.07 )    
Avg. Shares Outstanding        160,248,940            130,128,940      

 1 Financial statements in US dollars are prepared by the Company

Media and IR contacts

Emma Thompson
Spurwing Communications
Tel: +65 6751 2021
Email: ASLAN@spurwingcomms.com 
Robert Uhl
Westwicke Partners
Tel: +1 858 356 5932
Email: robert.uhl@westwicke.com 

About ASLAN Pharmaceuticals
ASLAN Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:ASLN, TPEx:6497) is a clinical-stage oncology and immunology focused biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for global markets. ASLAN targets diseases that are both highly prevalent in Asia and orphan indications in the United Stated and Europe. Led by a senior management team with extensive experience in global and regional development and commercialisation, ASLAN is headquartered in Singapore and has offices in Taiwan and China. ASLAN’s portfolio is comprised of three product candidates which target validated growth pathways applied to new patient segments, novel immune checkpoints and novel cancer metabolic pathways. ASLAN’s partners include Array BioPharma, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Almirall and CSL. For additional information please visit www.aslanpharma.com.

Forward looking statements

This release and the accompanying financial information, contain forward-looking statements. These statements are based on the current beliefs and expectations of the management of ASLAN Pharmaceuticals Limited and/or its affiliates (the "Company"). These forward-looking statements may include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the Company’s business strategy, the Company’s plans to develop and commercialise its product candidates, the safety and efficacy of the Company’s product candidates, the Company’s plans and expected timing with respect to regulatory filings and approvals, and the size and growth potential of the markets for the Company’s product candidates. The Company’s estimates, projections and other forward-looking statements are based on management's current assumptions and expectations of future events and trends, which affect or may affect the Company’s business, strategy, operations or financial performance, and inherently involve significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results and the timing of events could differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties, which include, without limitation the risk factors described in the Company’s US Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports (Commission File No. 001-38475), including the Company’s prospectus dated May 8, 2018 filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on such date. 

All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “may,” “might,” “could,” “will,” “aim,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “plan,” or the negative of those terms, and similar expressions that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes are intended to identify estimates, projections and other forward-looking statements. Estimates, projections and other forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they were made, and, except to the extent required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update or review any estimate, projection or forward-looking statement.