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Scancell Holdings plc (AIM:SCLP), the AIM-quoted developer of novel immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, is pleased to announce a conditional Firm Placing and Open Offer to raise up to £6.5 million (before expenses) to enable the Company to commence work on the pre-clinical development of the first Moditope™ immunotherapy product, provide working capital for the completion of the Phase 1/2 SCIB1 clinical trial and for the recruitment of a further ten patients on the 8mg dose. As previously announced the Company expects to announce the preliminary results of the Phase 1/2 trial (excluding the patients on the 8mg dose) by the end of 2013.
The Company announces a conditional Firm Placing of 20,000,000 new Ordinary Shares at 22.5 pence each to raise gross funds of approximately £4.5 million by a means of a Firm Placing with investors in various EIS and VCT funds managed by Calculus Capital. In addition, and in order to provide Qualifying Shareholders with an opportunity to subscribe for new Ordinary Shares at the same price, the Company announces a proposed Open Offer to raise up to a further £2.0 million (before expenses).
Scancell is developing products based on its ImmunoBody® and Moditope™ technology platforms. Scancell’s first ImmunoBody®, SCIB1 is being developed for the treatment of melanoma and is in Phase 1/2 clinical trials. Preliminary evidence from Part 1 of the study showing that SCIB1 produced an immune response which might be associated with clinical benefit in patients with malignant melanoma was released in December 2012. Scancell has also recently identified and patented a series of modified epitopes that stimulate the production of killer CD4 T cells that destroy tumours without apparent toxicity. The Directors believe that this Moditope™ platform could play a major role in the development of safe and effective cancer immunotherapies in the future.
The funds raised in the Firm Placing and Open Offer, together with existing cash resources will enable the Company to:
The Board remains firmly committed to a trade sale at an optimal point where significant shareholder value has been created on both the ImmunoBody® and Moditope™ platforms.
Shareholders should be aware that if the Resolutions are not approved at the General Meeting, the Company will be unable to complete the Firm Placing. The Board is of the opinion that, without completion of the Firm Placing, the working capital currently available to Scancell will not be sufficient for its requirements for the next 12 months following the date of the Circular.
David Evans, Non-Executive Chairman of the Company, said: “We are delighted with the continued strong support for Scancell from its shareholders. Both our Immunobody© and newer Moditope™ technology platforms hold great promise as novel immunotherapy-based approaches for the treatment of cancer. We are committed to realising their potential for the benefit of both patients and shareholders.
“This financing, together with our existing cash resources, will allow Scancell to progress products from both technology platforms to significant value inflexion points in the near and medium term. We remain committed to a trade sale of the Company and while we acknowledge this additional work may delay such plans, we believe it will ultimately result in a markedly improved return to shareholders”
Reasons for the Fundraising
On 15 August 2012 the Company announced the development of a new platform technology (Moditope™). The Moditope™ platform stimulates the production of killer CD4 T cells with powerful anti-tumour activity. CD4 responses to cancer associated antigens have been notoriously difficult to generate whether presented as peptides, proteins or DNA. CD4 cells are vital for effective anti-tumour immunity. Scancell has identified and patented a series of modified epitopes that overcome this limitation. Scancell's Moditope™ technology produces killer CD4 T cells that destroy tumours without apparent toxicity. Tests have shown that not only do these epitopes stimulate CD4 killer T cell responses but that cancer patients can produce an immune response to these epitopes. The Board believes that the Moditope™ epitopes can be used to develop both DNA and peptide vaccines and could become an important component of many therapeutic vaccines in the future, both under development at Scancell and other companies.
The Board is excited about the potential of this innovative discovery and has been actively evaluating the strategic options for Moditope™ to determine which, in the Board’s opinion, will create the greatest value for shareholders. Following a detailed review of the options, the Board believes that significant additional value can be delivered to shareholders by the further development of the new Moditope™ platform technology. Although the Moditope™ platform is currently at an early stage, the Directors believe that the potential of this novel immunotherapy platform is likely to be considerable. Accordingly, the Board plans to identify a lead product to take into pre-clinical and clinical development by the third quarter of calendar year 2014. Scancell has provisionally selected triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), ovarian and endometrial cancers as the initial target indications for the first clinical study which is scheduled to start in 2016.
In addition, and as previously announced, preliminary results from Part 1 of the Phase I/II clinical trials on SCIB1 have provided the first evidence that Scancell's ImmunoBody® vaccine approach is producing an immune response in cancer patients. In view of the positive clinical results and minimal side effects seen with the 4mg dose, the Company is currently evaluating an 8mg dose in 3-6 patients with evaluable disease. This additional cohort will permit an assessment of the safety and immunogenicity of an increased dose of SCIB1 in addition to the effect of this higher dose on tumour burden. The 8mg cohort is being evaluated in parallel with the second part of the Phase 1/2 study which is primarily designed to assess the effect of the 4mg dose on immune response in patients who have had all tumour removed prior to treatment. Three patients have been recruited to the 8mg dose cohort to date. The Board believes that it will also be important to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the 8mg dose in a larger number of patients prior to a sale of the Company. As such, the Company intends, provided the 8 mg dose is well tolerated, to seek approval to recruit an additional ten patients with evaluable disease to strengthen the data set on the 8mg dose prior to closing the SCIB1 Phase1/2 programme. The Directors believe that the availability of data from additional patients will position the Company as a more attractive sale opportunity.
Accordingly, the Board believes that the Firm Placing and Open Offer are in the best interests of the Company and Shareholders as the funds raised will enable the Company to commence work on the pre-clinical development of the first Moditope™ immunotherapy product and will provide working capital for the completion of the existing SCIB1 clinical trials as well as enable the Company to recruit the further ten patients for the 8mg cohort of the Phase 1/2 trial.
For more information, please contact:
Scancell Holdings Plc
David Evans, Non Executive Chairman +44 (0) 7740084452
Dr Richard Goodfellow, Joint CEO + 44 (0) 74 2323 0 497
Simon Conway/Mo Noonan + 44 (0) 20 7831 3113
Cenkos Securities plc: +44 (0) 20 7397 8900
Camilla Hume/Stephen Keys
Notes to Editors
Scancell is developing novel immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer based on its ImmunoBody® and Moditope™ technology platforms. Scancell’s first ImmunoBody®, SCIB1 is being developed for the treatment of melanoma and is in Phase 1/2 clinical trials. Preliminary evidence from Part 1 of the study showing that SCIB1 produced an immune response which might be associated with clinical benefit in patients with malignant melanoma was released in December 2012.
Scancell’s ImmunoBody® vaccines target dendritic cells and stimulate both parts of the cellular immune system; the helper cell system where inflammation is stimulated at the tumour site; and the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte or CTL response where immune system cells are primed to recognise and kill specific cells.
Scancell has also identified and patented a series of modified epitopes that stimulate the production of killer CD4 T cells that destroy tumours without toxicity. The Directors believe that the Moditope™ platform could play a major role in the development of safe and effective cancer immunotherapies in the future.
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