Idenix Pharmaceuticals' CEO Presents At Morgan Stanley Global Healthcare Conference (Transcript)

Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX)

Presentation at Morgan Stanley Global Healthcare Conference

September 10, 2012 1:15 p.m. ET


Ronald Renaud - President and CEO

Douglas Mayers - EVP and Chief Medical Officer


David Friedman - Morgan Stanley


David Friedman - Morgan Stanley

Thanks everyone for joining. Dave Friedman, biotech analyst here at Morgan Stanley. And for disclosure purposes, Morgan Stanley as well as personal holdings disclosures are available at

And I’m happy to have the team from Idenix up here. On the far side, Doug Mayers, chief medical officer; and on the nearside, Ron Renaud, president and CEO. And we’d look for this to be interactive and so any questions, anyone feel free to raise their hand. We’ll make sure we get to you. If I don’t see you, just yell or something and we’ll make sure.

My guess is most people know the company, but maybe for the one or two that don’t, if you can just give a couple minute overview of who you guys are and what you guys have going on?

Ronald Renaud

First of all, thanks for having us. Idenix is a company focused on developing antivirals. Right now our singular focus is on direct-acting antivirals for the treatment of hepatitis C. We have taken a nucleoside across the finish line in hepatitis B, and that drug is now sold by Novartis. We did that in our previous collaboration with Novartis, and that drug is now on the market and sold in more than 60 countries worldwide.

We made the decision about five or six years ago to focus almost exclusively on HCV and direct-acting antivirals in HCV. And a lot of that came really out of our expertise and our core competencies in nucleoside chemistry. The company was really founded on its nucleoside chemistry base and we’ve continued to build upon that since the company’s inception back in 1998.

So right now our lead program is IDX184. I know we’ll talk a little bit about some of the things that have been going on with that program over the last four to six weeks. But this is a nucleotide prodrug that we’ve just completed enrollment in a Phase IIB study on, and patients are continuing on on the peg/riba part of that. We have a next generation nucleotide prodrug called IDX19368 that we have filed an IND on, and we’ll talk a little bit more about that in the way of the recent FDA clinical hold.

And then our other program right now, which we’re very excited about is IDX719, which is a next generation NS5A inhibitor that we recently completed a proof of concept study on across all four genotypes, genotypes 1, 2, 3, and 4. Had very nice data on that, and we look forward to moving that into the next stage of clinical development.

Question-and-Answer Session

David Friedman - Morgan Stanley

That’s great. So maybe if we can just start with a couple of broad questions quickly. Number one is, can you just update people on your cash position and whether you have any debt?

Ronald Renaud

Sure. Just purely from a housekeeping perspective, we just completed a financing in early August where we raised just under $200 million. We had, at the end of the second quarter, just under $80 million, so this leaves us in a very good cash position from a balance sheet perspective. We carry no debt. Our balance sheet is very, very straightforward.

The P&L, one of the things that we used to have on the top line was a royalty from Novartis related to our HBV compound, Tyzeka/Sebivo. In exchange for Novartis’ rights to compounds in our pipeline, we exchanged that royalty back to them as part of that transaction. And that was running at around a million a quarter, around $4 million a year. That’s pretty much it for the financials.

David Friedman - Morgan Stanley

And then you mentioned that you guys had previously been a sort of broader-focused antiviral company with an explicit focus in the last half a decade on HCV. Is there any intention to rebroaden? Or given that you guys have a number of HCV drugs in the clinic, is it your intention to focus exclusively on that part, carry that through? How are you thinking about that?

Ronald Renaud

It’s a great question. After Tyzeka/Sebivo, we clearly put our ambitions in HBV up on the shelf. And we were focused on HCV. And initially - I think some folks might remember - in HIV we had a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor called IDX899. That, preclinically, and even in the early proof of concept data, looked fantastic.

We ended up out-licensing that. HIV is obviously a big marketplace, and not one where we wanted to try to go alone with one compound. We out-licensed that to GSK, which became part of the ViiV Healthcare company, in a transaction that we did. I believe it was back in early 1999.

So after that, we used the financial resources gained from that transaction to really focus everything on HCV. And I think today we feel very strongly about making sure we get HCV right. We remain very, very confident in IDX184, IDX368. We have some additional nucleotide prodrugs that we’re going to bring forward, non G-based nucleotide prodrugs that will come forward during the span of the next 6 to 12 months.

That all being said, I think with such a strong core competency in nucleosides, nucleotide prodrugs, liver targeting, we do spend some time thinking about where else we could apply this expertise. And clearly in the virology space there are, I think, some easy follow-ons. But we don’t have much bandwidth for thinking about that until we get HCV right.

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