Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: MACK) today announced its third quarter 2017 financial results for the period ended September 30, 2017.
"The third quarter marked continued execution on our 2017 goals as we delivered on the promise of a refocused Merrimack with a seasoned team built around our efficient, biomarker-driven approach and refined corporate strategy," said Richard Peters, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer. "With the potential to emerge from the fourth quarter with a clean balance sheet and three upcoming data readouts from our lead clinical candidates, MM-121, MM-141 and MM-310, we look towards 2018 with great anticipation and are poised to deliver on our corporate goals with a strong infrastructure and disciplined approach."
Third Quarter and Recent Highlights
Key events from the third quarter and more recently include:
- Received orphan drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for MM-121 in heregulin positive non-small cell lung cancer, which would potentially provide Merrimack with up to seven years of market exclusivity in this indication, among other benefits, if approved; and
- Rounded out executive team with two key additions:
- Jean Franchi, a 30-year industry veteran with rich leadership experience in the biotechnology and life sciences sectors, hired as Chief Financial Officer. Most recently, Ms. Franchi served as Chief Financial Officer at Dimension Therapeutics, with time previously spent as Chief Financial Officer at Good Start Genetics and 16 years at Genzyme, including as Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance.
- Thomas Needham, an experienced dealmaker with 25 years in corporate strategy and business development, hired as Chief Business Officer. Most recently, Mr. Needham served as Senior Vice President of Business Development at C4 Therapeutics. Previously, he was Managing Director at Synthesis Capital, where he helped manage two healthcare venture funds, a Principal at the global private equity firm Advent International and Vice President of Business Development at both GPC Biotech and Mitotix.
Merrimack anticipates the following upcoming clinical milestones:
- First patient dosed by the end of 2017 in the SHERBOC study, a Phase 2 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of MM-121 added to standard of care in patients with heregulin positive, hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative metastatic breast cancer;
- Top-line results in the first half of 2018 from the CARRIE study, a Phase 2 randomized clinical trial of MM-141 added to standard of care in patients with front-line metastatic pancreatic cancer who have high serum levels of free IGF-1;
- Top-line results in the second half of 2018 from the SHERLOC study, a Phase 2 randomized clinical trial of MM-121 added to standard of care in patients with heregulin positive non-small cell lung cancer; and
- Safety data and recommended Phase 2 dose in the second half of 2018 from the Phase 1 clinical study of MM-310 in patients with solid tumors.
Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results
The following summarizes Merrimack's financial results for the three months ended September 30, 2017:
- In October, Merrimack reached a settlement with participating convertible noteholders to resolve litigation associated with the asset sale to Ipsen S.A., agreeing to pay $0.90 per $1.00 of 4.50% convertible senior notes due in 2020 held by the noteholder plaintiffs, plus accrued interest and an amount towards the plaintiffs' legal fees. In conjunction with the settlement, Merrimack commenced a tender offer, set to expire November 10, 2017, to purchase all remaining convertible notes at the same rate of $0.90 per $1.00 of convertible notes, plus accrued interest, with the potential to eliminate remaining debt if all noteholders participate. Together, the settlement payout, the amount Merrimack expects to pay to acquire the remaining convertible notes and Merrimack's expenses related to this litigation will approximate the $60.0 million that Merrimack placed into an escrow account as security for the plaintiffs' claims;
- Research and development expenses for the three months ended September 30, 2017 from continuing operations were $13.6 million, compared to $28.2 million for the three months ended September 30, 2016. This represents a decrease of $14.6 million, primarily due to Merrimack's refocused clinical and preclinical pipeline;
- General and administrative expenses for the three months ended September 30, 2017 from continuing operations were $3.4 million, compared to $6.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2016. This represents a decrease of $3.0 million, primarily due to the transition following the asset sale which led to a decrease in corporate expenses related to headcount and stock-based compensation;
- Net loss attributable to Merrimack's continuing operations for the three months ended September 30, 2017 was $5.4 million, or $0.40 per share, compared to a net loss attributable to Merrimack's continuing operations of $26.6 million, or $2.06 per share, for the three months ended September 30, 2016;
- During the quarter, Merrimack deconsolidated Silver Creek Pharmaceuticals' financial statements from Merrimack's consolidated financial statements effective July 14, 2017. As a result of the deconsolidation, Merrimack recognized a non-cash gain of approximately $10.8 million; and
- As of September 30, 2017, Merrimack had 13.3 million shares of common stock, $0.01 par value per share, outstanding.
Updated Financial Outlook
Merrimack continues to believe that its unrestricted cash and cash equivalents of $107.2 million as of September 30, 2017 and potential net milestone payments anticipated from Shire will be sufficient to fund its planned operations into the second half of 2019.
Annual Meeting Date
Merrimack will hold its 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders on June 12, 2018.
Merrimack is a biopharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts that is outthinking cancer to ensure that patients and their families live fulfilling lives. Its mission is to transform cancer care through the smart design and development of targeted solutions based on a deep understanding of cancer pathways and biological markers. All of Merrimack's development programs, including four clinical studies in distinct indications and six candidates in preclinical development, fit into its strategy of 1) understanding the biological problems it is trying to solve, 2) designing specific solutions and 3) developing those solutions for biomarker-selected patients. This three-pronged strategy seeks to ensure optimal patient outcomes. For more information, please visit Merrimack's website at www.merrimack.com.