ProtoKinetix, Incorporated, PKTX is a small molecular biotechnology company based in West Virginia that has been announcing major progress recently, and has some investors thinking that its’ starting to look like an early-stage version of another biopharma platform technology company that is making major waves in treating diabetes, Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc., ORMP.
Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ORMP) is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company based in Israel that has developed a unique proprietary platform technology that allows for the oral delivery of drugs presently administered only via injection. The Company has a $143M market cap as of October 21st, 2017, and its stock is up 76% since this February.
Most of the attributed reason for the stock surge stems from the successful conclusion of their Phase IIb trial of its oral insulin capsule ORMD-0801 in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and the anticipation of the beginning of its Phase III trials.
In September 2017, ORMD announced that it successfully concluded its meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), getting clear guidance that the regulatory pathway for submission of ORMD-0801 would be a Biologics License Application (BLA).
ProtoKinetix, Incorporated (OTC:OTCQB:PKTX) is a much smaller company with a $16M market cap, but like ORMD, it too is a platform technology company with many potential applications. The company is actively developing their patented family of hyper stable, potent glycopeptides (AAGP™) that enhance the engraftment and protection of transplanted cells used in regenerative medicine.
Amongst the various indications PKTX is researching are Kidney Ischemia, Normothermic Liver Perfusion, Retinal Cell Replacement, and Monoclonal Antibody Production. However, like ORMD, they are further along in clinical trials investigating its ability to help treat Type 1 Diabetes. The Company is currently in Phase II of a first-in-human clinical trial being conducted by a well-respected team at the University of Alberta that started in March 2017. Much of what will drive the PKTX story going forward is the success of this trial.
Besides the strong science behind the PKTX story, it is heartening to see that the company has done an excellent job of balance sheet management. There is no debt on the books, and for a biotech company, it has a remarkably small burn of only $1M in SG&A on a yearly basis.
At some point, soon I see PKTX as a prime takeover candidate. Likely won’t happen until trial results begin to come out, which I would expect to see sometime in early in 2018. Novo Nordisk, (NYSE:NVO) and Eli Lilly, (NYSE:LLY) are both active in the Type 1 diabetes space and would be on the list of companies interested in acquiring them.
It should also be noted that the CEO has funded a significant amount of the development himself, and owns 24% of the Company, and is only paying himself a salary of $1. That is unheard of among small-cap biotechs. Most of often a management team owns very little stock and pays themselves exorbitant salaries. It’s nice to see a management team be “all-in” like the folks at PKTX. With no debt and an extremely small burn, there is very little downside to the stock at this point. At these levels, it is a great place to accumulate and hold until we begin to see the data from the trials.