Evgen Pharma shares up 150% on $160m license deal

Shares of Alderley Park-based drug development firm Evgen Pharma plc soared about 150% on Monday after it announced it licensed the global rights for its lead asset SFX-01 in neurodevelopmental disorders and schizophrenia to Stalicla SA of Switzerland.

The SFX-01 licensing deal is for up to $160.5 million in milestone payments. Evgen shares rose about 150% to around 7p to give the firm a stock market value of about £20 million.

Stalicla specializes in the identification of specific phenotypes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using its proprietary precision medicine platform.

Evgen retains the global rights for all other indications.

Evgen is a clinical stage drug development company developing sulforaphane-based medicines for the treatment of cancer and other indications.

Evgen described the license deal as involving “… $0.5m upfront, $0.5m on completion of the, already fully financed, Evgen-sponsored human volunteer Phase 1 study (anticipated during Q2 2023).”

The Alderley Park company added: “Milestone payments up to commercial launch are $26.5m, including $5m on grant of IND by the FDA (anticipated in late 2023).  

“Total milestones of $160.5m are payable to the company in relation to the first neurodevelopmental disorder indication under the license.

“Royalties payable to Evgen on sales are in the low to medium double-digit range in all scenarios, including on-licensing by Stalicla and use of SFX-01 in further licensed indications.”

Evgen CEO Huw Jones said: “This is an exciting opportunity to work with Stalicla to develop a potential treatment for ASD and other neuropsychiatric disorders.

“There are no current approved treatments for ASD but a molecular target activated by SFX-01 offers considerable promise in alleviating some of the complex behavioural challenges experienced by people with these conditions.

“Stalicla is a unique partner in ASD, with its proprietary technology for screening those patients who are most likely to respond to SFX-01.

“This recognition of SFX-01 as a potential treatment for a major neuropsychiatric condition, demonstrates the variety of potential uses of our Sulforadex platform, along with our ability to execute on our business model.

“Entering the CNS (Central Nervous System) space with this partnership is especially compelling due to the promising clinical data for sulforaphane in this area in earlier studies.”