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Sangamo BioSciences' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. (SGMO)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 8, 2012 5:00 p.m. ET


Elizabeth J. Wolffe, Ph.D. – Senior Director, Corporate Communications

Edward O. Lanphier II – President and Chief Executive Officer

H. Ward Wolff – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Geoffrey M. Nichol, M.B., Ch.B. – Executive Vice President, Research and Development

Philip D. Gregory, D. Phil. - Vice President of Research and Chief Science Officer

Dale Ando, M.D. - Vice President, Therapeutic Development and Chief Medical Officer


Joseph Schwartz - Leerink Swann

Charles Duncan - JMP Securities

Ted Tenthoff - Piper Jaffray

Liana Moussatos - Wedbush Securities

Alastair Mackay - GARP Research



Good afternoon and welcome to the Sangamo BioSciences teleconference to discuss fourth quarter and full-year 2011 financial results. This call is being recorded. I will now pass you over to the coordinator for this event, Dr. Elizabeth Wolffe, Senior Director of Corporate Communications

Elizabeth Wolffe

Thank you. Good afternoon, and thank you for joining Sangamo's management team on our conference call to discuss the company's fourth quarter and full-year 2011 financial results. Also present during this call are several members of the Sangamo senior management team, including Edward Lanphier, President and CEO, Ward Wolffe, EVP and Chief Financial Officer, Geoff Nichol, Executive Vice President of Research and Development, Philip Gregory, VP of Research and Chief Scientific Officer; and Dale Ando, Vice President of Development and Chief Medical Officer.

Following this introduction, Edward will highlight recent activities and significant events from the past year. Ward will then briefly review fourth quarter and full-year financial results for 2011 as well as our financial guidance for 2012, Geoff will provide an update on our ZFP therapeutic program, and finally, Edward will update you on our goals for 2012. Following that, we will open up the call for questions.

As we begin, I'd like to remind everyone that the projections and forward-looking statements that we discuss during this conference call are based upon the information that we currently have available. This information will likely change over time. By discussing our current perception of the market and future performance of Sangamo with you today, we are not undertaking an obligation to provide updates in the future. Actual results may differ substantially from what we discuss today, and no one should assume at a later date that our comments from today are still valid.

We alert you to be aware of risks that are detailed in documents that the company files with the Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and our annual report on Form 10-K. These documents include important factors that could cause the actual results of the company's operations to differ materially from those contained in our projections or forward-looking statements.

Now, I'd like to turn the call over to Edward.

Edward Lanphier

Thank you, Liz, and thank you all for joining us for our conference call to discuss our fourth quarter and full-year results for 2011 as well as our plans for 2012. This end-of-year call always provides a useful opportunity to reflect on the achievements and events of the past year and to lay out our path and goals for the year ahead.

2011 was an important period of maturation for Sangamo as a therapeutic product development company. While disappointing, data from our Phase 2b clinical trial with SB-509 and peripheral diabetic neuropathy lead us to cease the development of that drug. Our team quickly refocused our resources to ensure the rapid advancement of our SB-728-T program in HIV/AIDS and our deep preclinical pipeline focused on engineering genetic cures for rare and monogenic diseases. But more on that later. Let me start with a brief update on the current status of our programs and our new strategic alliance.

We presented important data from our Phase 1 clinical trials of SB-728-T, our ZFN modified T cell therapeutic for HIV/AIDS had scientific meetings in the spring and fall of 2011.

In summary, the data demonstrated a statistically significant relationship between the number of ZFN modified T cells in which both copies of the CCR5 gene were disrupted, the so-called biallelic modification, and the drop in HIV viral load in the blood of HIV infected subjects.

These data have provided a clear signal of a therapeutic effect, and have enabled us to design additional clinical trials which we believe will clearly demonstrate the utility of SB-728-T as a potential functional cure for HIV/AIDS.

A few weeks ago, we announced that we had initiated ahead of schedule, two new phase 2 clinical trials of SB-728-T. The trials represent two distinct approaches aimed at maximizing the engraftment of biallelically modified cells. I've asked Jeff to provide more information regarding our rationales, strategy and details of the trial design later in the call.

I also want to briefly update you on our collaboration with scientists at City of Hope, aimed at developing a treatment for recurrent and refractory glioblastoma. I can confirm that this investigator sponsored phase 1 trial is still open and clinicians at City of Hope continue to screen subjects.

However, due to changes in the standard of care for glioblastoma patients, namely the introduction of Avastin, clinicians are not seeing subjects presenting with the same type of recurrent tumors as when the trial was conceived. They have had difficulty accruing subjects whose clinical profile fits the original trial design.

However, as I said, clinicians at City of Hope continue to screen subjects. We expect that they will report data if and when they have treated an appropriate number of subjects.

We also published and presented data from several of our preclinical programs throughout 2011 that demonstrated the potential of our zinc finger nuclease technology to modify and permanently correct genes that cause disease.

Most recently, at the December meeting of the American Society for Hematology or ASH, we presented new data from our hemophilia program. This is one of the programs that we will be working on, as part of our recently announced strategic alliance with Shire. As you will hear later, this is just one of several monogenic diseases we are pursuing.

Speaking of our new partnership, last week we announced with Shire, one of the world's leading specialty pharmaceutical companies, our first major therapeutic alliance. As many of you know, Sangamo, like Shire, is focused on enabling people with life threatening conditions to lead better lives.

Even beyond our shared vision, one can also see the significant parallels between our therapeutic strategies when looking at our clinical and preclinical pipeline and Shire's three divisions: specialty Pharma, human genetic therapies, and regenerative medicine.

We are both, Shire and Sangamo, very excited about this partnership aimed at engineering genetic cures for rare and monogenic diseases. This alliance brings not only tangible financial benefits to Sangamo, but further validation of our ZFP Therapeutic Development platform with a highly respected partner.

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