Evelo Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:EVLO) Q4 2022 Earnings Call Transcript

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Evelo Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:EVLO) Q4 2022 Earnings Call Transcript March 16, 2023

Operator: Good morning and welcome to the Evelo Biosciences Conference Call to discuss its Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Financial Results and Business Update. Please be advised this call is being recorded at the company's request. At this time, I'd like to turn the call over to Shamira Shariffudin of Evelo. Please proceed.

Shamira Shariffudin: Thank you. This morning, we issued our fourth quarter and full year 2022 financial results and business update. These releases available at evelobio.com under the Investors tab. Today on the call we have Simba Gill, Chief Executive Officer; Marella Thorell, Chief Financial Officer; and Mark Bodmer, Chief Scientific Officer. Before we begin, I would like to remind everyone that statements made during this conference call that do not relate to matters of historical fact, including statements about our objectives and anticipated clinical milestones, the impact of any of our product candidates and the timing and results of any clinical trials, should be considered forward-looking statements including within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Such forward-looking statements are intended to be subject to the Safe Harbor protection provided by the Reform Act and all other applicable law. Actual results could differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements due to the impact of many factors. Participants are directed to the risk factors set forth in Evelo's annual report on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2022 and the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statements made today speak only to Evelo's operations as of today. Evelo disclaims any duty to provide updates to its forward-looking statements even if subsequent events cause the company's views to change. I will now hand the call over to Simba.

Simba Gill: Thanks, Shamira. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us. We wanted to spend some time reviewing our progress over 2022, our current stages and key milestones going into '23. I'll begin by highlighting an important advance which we announced in February, the progress of EDP2939, the first bacterial type extracellular vesicle product candidate. EDP2939 has begun dosing in patients with moderate psoriasis. EDP2939, clear safety and tolerability in healthy volunteers show therapeutic dose escalating dose stages of the Phase 1 . Psoriasis patients are now receiving EDP2939 in the Phase 2 study at the initial therapeutic dose. As far as we know, this is the first Phase 2 for an orally delivered microbial extracellular vesicle being investigated for the treatment of a systemic inflammatory disease.

We expect data from the Phase 2 study with EDP2939 to be available this year. A reminder that EDP2939 is the EV product candidate that is derived as a pure active substance from EDP1815. The science and preclinical data of EDP2939 strongly suggest the potential to drive greater efficacy than EDP1815 and pertaining safety and tolerability. Mark will review more on our extracellular vesicle program potential for EDP2939 builds on clinical experience with EDP1815. Beyond progress on our EV program, I wanted to recap a few highlights from last year. In late 2021, we reported that our Phase 2 mild to moderate psoriasis study on EDP1815 significantly versus placebo at the end of the 16-week treatment period. PASI-50 or greater responses were 25% to 32% versus 12% for placebo with statistical significance of P value less than 0.05 in active cohorts.

Laboratory, Medicine, Health
Laboratory, Medicine, Health

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Into early 2022, we continue to follow patients for 24 additional weeks after they seize treatment with EDP1815 and Part B of the study. Clinical responses were maintained or even improved off treatment. Specifically, of patients in Part B with a PASI-50 response or greater maintained this response with no . Of these 45% of patients who had an initial improvement from between 50% to 75% experienced a deepening of response to PASI-75 or greater in the follow-up period. This durability of clinical effect is differentiated from standards of care, anti-inflammatory medicines. It is consistent with the mechanism of action that we have elucidated showing that SINTAX acts locally in the small intestine to activate a regulatory T-cell population.

This is a fundamental breakthrough in the treatment of inflammatory diseases, which suggests great potential for SINTAX medicines. In November 2022, we published a scientific review in Frontiers of Immunology, explaining the science behind the based on this growing understanding of the mechanism of action of SINTAX medicines. Our core EDP1815 program goal for 2022 was to advance interactions with regulators regarding a potential phase for EDP1815 in psoriasis. were completed with the FDA, EMA and MHRA over the past few months, providing a path to Phase 3. Advancing EDP1815 into Phase 3 is dependent on availability of financing prioritization. As you know, we are also investigating the potential of EDP1815 in the Phase 2 atopic dermatitis study.

The first three cohorts of this study didn't meet primary endpoints, due to an unusually high placebo rate, which we cannot explain. The fourth cohort results using the faster release capsule are expected in the second quarter of 2023. Beyond clinical I wanted to also remind everyone of our accomplishments on the financial side in 2022. In May, 2022, we raised $79.2 million through a Registered Direct Offering with participation from key existing and new investors. In December, 2022, we refinanced our existing $45 million debt by loan agreement with Horizon Technology Finance. The three years of interest only payments followed by a two-year amortization period. I'll now turn over to our Chief Scientific Officer and President of R&D, Mark Bodmer to more detail on our EV platform and report recent updates from our EDP2939 clinical program.

Mark Bodmer: Thank you, Simba. Bacterial Extracellular Vesicles or EVs are naturally occurring bacteria, therefore to be the main means of communication amongst bacteria, between bacteria and host cells. makes them well suited as potential drugs, engaging the small intestinal access when given orally inflammation throughout the body, and this leads to striking efficacy that has matched anti cytokine biologics and JAK inhibitors studies. As Simba mentioned, the EV product candidate EDP2939 derives from EDP1815. They're both prepared from fermentation of the same single strain of commensal bacteria. EDP1815 microbial product prepared from a cell pellet after fermentation, EDP2939 is the EV product for . Now, EDP1815 provided proof-of-concept of the underlying SINTAX biology that drug action in the small intestine could lead to clinical benefit of result of biologics and JAK inhibitors, those were the results that Simba described earlier.

However the overall level of response that we've seen in clinical studies so far has actually not been as great as that . We propose that this is most likely due to limitations in the dose response that can be achieved with EDP1815. The critical factor in understanding why we expect EDP2939 to improve on EDP1815 in psoriasis is experimental evidence for the main active substance EDP1815 is the EV's, the co-purified and the drug substance that is EDP1815, the same as well as long as microbial content. Preparations of EVs, like 2939 with cells have consistently shown higher preclinical potency of up to two orders of magnitude in preclinical experiments. for what that could mean clinically. Published dose response modeling of tofacitinib, the broad JAK inhibitor in psoriasis patients suggests there's about fivefold range of dose from no response for the maximum response at the maximum tolerated dose.

range is actually much smaller than the range that we think we can achieve with the potency improvements between EDP2939 and the EDP1815. So the Phase 2 efficacy that Simba described that we saw with EDP1815 in the Phase 2 psoriasis study was evidence on the dose response curve for clinical response. So on the basic principles of pharmacology, the increased EDP2939 is predicted to be more than adequate for a meaningful shift up that dose response curve. EDP2939 enables the possibility of improved clinical activity while maintaining the potential for the placebo-like safety and tolerability that we saw . The two clinical developments reported last month from EDP2939 in its milestones and the progress of the product candidate. The first that Simba mentioned was the outcome of Phase 1 safety cohort of EDP2939 in the human volunteers at the initial therapeutic dose level.

The Trial Safety Review Committee determined that EDP2939 met the safety and tolerability criteria at the therapeutic dose proposed progression to Phase 2 in patients with moderate psoriasis recruitment of psoriasis patients study is not progressing well. Based on the current recruitment round, we anticipate reporting with the psoriasis results in the second half of 2023. The safety review was important. EDP2939 is differentiated from Evelo's prior generation microbial product candidates by the higher transit potency of and the number of concentration of EVs that can be packed into a single capsule. This first safety evaluation at the proposed therapeutic dose EDP2939 with these potencies maintains for the placebo safety and tolerability we previously observed with EDP1815.

I'll now hand back to Simba.

Simba Gill: Thanks, Mark. of the current environment for small-cap biotech at a time of bringing EDP2939 to the clinic is the culmination of years of discovery in the lab, building on our previous experience with EDP1815. Working out new modalities based on new biotechnology some challenging and some offering the potential for great advances, all I think discovery of the pharmacology of bacterial EVs as is an example of the latter, a step change in opportunity and potential value for In closing, I'd like to thank patients involved in our studies, our partners, our shareholders and our remarkable team for their commitment and efforts to enable the progress we have discussed today. I'll now open the call for questions.

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