N4 Pharma “at the right place at the right time and not by luck, but by design” says SP Angel (LON:N4P)

N4 Pharma plc (LON:N4P) is the topic of conversation when SP Angel’s Analyst Vadim Alexandre caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview.

Q1: You’ve issued a new research note on N4 Pharma, can you just talk us through the main points?

A1: So, I think the purpose of the research note mainly is to flag that the company, I think the key thing that’s happened for this business recently is that it’s moved into the commercial phase.

So, not too long ago, they issued an RNS that describes how they’ve signed two commercial agreements, they’re called MTAs, which is short for Material Transfer Agreements and what they are they’re early stage agreements, but it’s the first real substantial commercial change for the business. Prior to that, they were a pre-clinical research organization and now these MTAs are demonstrating that there’s actual commercial interest in this.

So, what’s going to happen now, and that’s what prompted our interest in, specifically in writing this research note, is that this is a phase change for the company. These MTAs, yes, they’re early stage but what happens now is they’re like collaboration agreements, they start to do work with these pharma companies, the pharma companies, by the way, are unnamed and that’s often the case that they remain unnamed.

What’s interesting is that there’s two of them and that they’re completely in different areas of these vaccine technologies so that is another element that’s important, that it’s a platform technology that they have, and it’s already showing signs of precisely that, of it being a platform technology because they’re being used for completely different purposes in these two completely different MTAs.

So, what’s interesting now is the company is moving into this more commercial phase, this is what they’ve been working towards from inception so it’s a good step. What I would hope to see next is the collaboration agreement turned into a licensing agreement so that would be the next step of these MTAs.

Q2: What does the current vaccine landscape mean for the company?

A2: As you might imagine, vaccines are now all the rage ever since COVID, and that’s just been a tailwind, huge windfall in some respects, for the company even though commercially they’re in the early stages of commercial success but the landscape is fantastic for them.

They’re doing the right thing at the right time and not only just in COVID related vaccination, they are working on that, one of the MTAs that was signed to specifically for COVID 19, but for vaccines in general. I think the landscape has changed our view of vaccines and reawakened the public interest in vaccines, let alone the important pharma interest in the space.

Vaccines are pertinent everywhere, not just in infectious disease, they’re also now becoming an area in oncology so people getting vaccinated against cancer, that’s something that that’s in the pipeline in the future.

So, very, very, timely for the company,  they are doing the right thing, they’re at the right place at the right time and not by luck, but by design.

Q3: I think you’ve answered some of this already, but why in your view should an investor invest in the company?

A3: I guess timing is important in investment ad I think that’s the key, that was what prompted us with the research note is that sometimes these things creep up on the market in that it’s subtle. These MTAs are early stage, we acknowledge that, but they are a shift to commercial interest in this business, commercial interest in the science of what they’re doing and across different modalities so as I said earlier, not just in COVID, but in other areas.

That’s a very good sign, it’s settled today, but these things do translate into collaborations, collaboration agreements do translate into licensing agreements. They may not, maybe not the first one but there’s certainly a lot of interest beyond these ones as well. In speaking to management, they’re in multiple discussions.

Also, there’s the fact that success breeds success so if they’re successful in these MTAs and they do translate into further work, that’ll probably attract even more attention from other companies to what they’re doing.

Either way, whichever way these early MTAs go, the big point here is that there’s been a change and the changes is that the commercial angle is now starting to bear fruit and I think that’s the time that an investor should take notice of these companies.

Q4: Finally, what can be expected from N4 Pharma and the commitments do you think?

A4: So, the MTAs now have kicked off so the work has begun, that in it of itself will trigger some kind of resolution, will they continue to get more involved with the company or not? I think that news flow, within the next 12 months, we’ll know which way these MTAs go.

Further MTAs are possible so there could be other similar agreements that are in the pipeline because when the company announced the first MTA, well, they announced two so that’s already a good start, it shows there’s broader interest than just one company in this company so I would expect more.

Results from the current ones, new ones, those are important things, they’re optimization work so the work that their baseline work is always going on in the background, for any preclinical clinical company, you’re constantly getting results from that work so I would expect further results from that. I think they were expecting some results in Q3 so that’s also coming up pretty quickly.

So, in the next six to 12 months, well three months for internal work, I would expect more news on the MTAs and then also new MTAs so yes, I think there there’s a lot of news flow coming.

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