In January 2014, we signed a collaboration agreement with JHL Biotech, or JHL, a biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures, and commercializes biologic medicines, pursuant to which we will collaborate with JHL in the development and commercialization of BL-9020, a novel monoclonal antibody in the preclinical development stage for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes. JHL Biotech will be responsible for all process development and manufacturing of BL-9020 during its pre-clinical and clinical development stages, and we will be responsible for all pre-clinical development of BL-9020. JHL will have global manufacturing rights to BL-9020, along with development and commercialization rights in China and Southeast Asia, and we will have development and commercialization rights in the rest of the world. In all development and manufacturing of BL-9020, JHL will adhere to FDA guidelines and regulations. Each party will have rights to all development and regulatory data generated under the agreement in order to commercialize BL-9020 in its respective territory. Each party will also be entitled to single-digit royalties on the sale of BL-9020 in the other party’s respective territory.
We have funded our operations primarily through the sale of equity securities (both in public and private offerings), funding previously received from the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry (OCS), payments received under out-licensing arrangements, and interest earned on investments. We expect to continue to fund our operations over the next several years through our existing cash resources, potential future milestone and royalty payments that we may receive from our existing out-licensing agreements, potential future upfront or milestone payments that we may receive from out-licensing transactions for our other therapeutic candidates, interest earned on our investments and additional capital to be raised through public or private equity offerings or debt ﬁnancings. As of June 30, 2016, we held $41.8 million of cash, cash equivalents and short-term bank deposits.
Recent Company Developments
Changes in Company Management
Concurrently with the filing of this review, we are announcing that Philip A. Serlin has been named Chief Executive Officer of the Company, effective October 10, 2016. Mr. Serlin joined the Company in 2009 as its Chief Financial and Operating Officer. He succeeds Kinneret Savitsky, Ph.D., who joined the Company in 2004, and has served as its Chief Executive Officer since 2010. Taking Mr. Serlin’s place as Chief Financial Officer will be Ms. Mali Zeevi, CPA, who joined the Company in 2009 and has served as its Senior Director of Finance and Reporting since 2011.
Pre-Clinical and Clinical Development
In June 2016, we announced the filing of regulatory submissions required to commence a Phase 2a trial for BL-8040 in combination with KEYTRUDA for the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer. The study is expected to commence shortly after receipt of regulatory approval, anticipated in the third quarter of 2016, and will be conducted in the US, Israel and additional countries. The Phase 2a study, named the COMBAT study, is an open-label, multicenter, single-arm trial designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the combination of BL-8040 and KEYTRUDA in up to 30 subjects with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
In August 2016, we entered into an additional collaboration agreement for the investigation of BL-8040 in combination with KEYTRUDA in pancreatic cancer – this time with MD Anderson Cancer Center – as described in “Clinical-Stage Pipeline” above.