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Full steam ahead at Midatech as cancer treatments edge closer to the clinic

Midatech has three lead R&D programmes: a carcinoid syndrome treatment; a liver cancer drug; and a brain cancer therapy
The recent injection of funds should accelerate development

Three key R&D programmes

Midatech Pharma Plc (LON:MTPH NASDAQ:MTP) makes no bones about the fact it has three lead research and development programmes, each of which “could transform the business”.

First up is its Q-Octreotide programme for the treatment of acromegaly and carcinoid syndrome, which it hopes to get in to the clinic later this year, and registered and filed within the next two years.

Its second key programme is a new treatment for cancer which it made good progress on in 2016 as it found a compound that appeared to have a “significant effect” on liver cancer cells. That product is being taken forward in order to prepare it for clinical trials by 2018.

Last but by no means least is Midatech’s brain cancer treatment – MTX110. Using a technique called convection enhanced delivery, MTX110 is infused directly into the brain tumour and diffuses through and around it.

WATCH: Compound selection for brain cancer therapy a ‘significant milestone’

Five patients have been treated with MTX110 in the USA and UK under the compassionate use programme and it’s been well tolerated, so far. “Pivotal” clinical trials are planned for later this year.

The technology

The key to each of those programmes is Midatech’s technology which allows it to precisely deploy drugs into the body.

Its two platforms – carbohydrate-coated gold nano-particles and its sustained release system –are about getting medicines to the right place in the right quantities at the right time.

The company's gold nano-particles, or GNPs for short, promise a revolution in targeted therapies for cancer.

To radically simplify, the process deploys these GNPs to act as guided missiles.

In treating cancer with traditional chemo-therapy, for instance, they are programmed to hit only a specific tumour type with their payload.

This highly targeted approach allows physicians to potentially administer lower doses and it also means there is little collateral damage.

Sustained release system

Its Q-Sphera technology works in a different way to deliver the drug at the right time.

It is a sustained release platform and has adopted 3D and ink jet printing techniques to create particles that dissolve in a certain way over a certain time-scale.

Q-Sphera allows drug compounds to be released into the body in a “highly controlled manner” over a prolonged period of time; potentially from a few days to up to six months.

Manufacturing facility in Spain

Midatech has an in-house nano-particle manufacturing facility, which is believed to be the first of its kind in Europe.

READ: Midatech on track with Bilbao upgrade

The company also recently upgraded the facility – located in Bilbao, Spain – to allow it to start manufacturing its sustained release delivery system in-house as well.

This state-of-the-art facility means Midatech can rapidly develop and execute projects and also avoids the reliance on external partners.

Latest results

The specialty pharma’s latest full year results – announced back in April – charted a year of operational and financial progress and included a full contribution from DARA Biosciences which it bought back in 2015.

READ: Prelims chart a year of significant progress

WATCH: Midatech ‘consistently delivering on sales growth’

The transformation of the business was reflected by top line growth of 510%, with gross revenues coming in at £9.21mln for the 12 months to December 31 2016.

The net loss was £20.16mln, which included an £11mln impairment charge, although given that Midatech is still an early-stage company very much focused on its pipeline, take that figure with a pinch of salt.

Strong balance sheet

Towards the end of 2016, the drug developer bolstered its balance sheet to the tune of £16mln which it is using to invest in expanding and advancing its development pipeline.

Midatech originally went to the market and asked for “not less than” £12mln; the fact it raised £4mln more than that is seemingly a reflection of investors’ appetite to get on board with the company.

In addition to that, the firm further boosted its coffers back in February of this year after it secured a new £6mln loan facility with Silicon Valley Bank.

WATCH: £6mln loan facility to help Midatech 'expand and accelerate' growth

As you’d expect with a small-cap drug developer, the cash has once again been earmarked for its cancer-focused product pipeline.

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