Mereo BioPharma Reports Full Year 2020 Financial Results and Recent Highlights
-- Ultragenyx Collaboration and License Agreement for Setrusumab in Osteogenesis Imperfecta --
LONDON and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., March 31, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mereo BioPharma Group plc (NASDAQ: MREO) (“Mereo” or the “Company”), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology and rare diseases, today announced financial results and for the year ended December 31, 2020 and provided an update on recent corporate highlights.
“Despite the challenging landscape presented by the ongoing pandemic, this past year has been one of continued execution for Mereo, and I believe that 2020 was a highly successful and exciting year for the Company,” said Dr. Denise Scots-Knight, Chief Executive Officer of Mereo. “We were able to further strengthen our partnering portfolio with licensing agreements for setrusumab and navicixizumab, with significant milestone payments tied to each deal. Our internal pipeline has continued to progress with etigilimab currently in a Phase 1b/2 basket study and alvelestat in a Phase 2 POC study for patients with AATD as well as a Phase 1 study in patients with COVID-19. Since the beginning of 2020, we successfully raised a total of $183 million (£138 million) through a combination of private placements, convertible loan notes and most recently a public offering in February 2021. The proceeds from these financing events, coupled with the upfront payments under the setrusumab and navicixizumab licensing agreements, will fund the continued advancement of our clinical programs and allow us to continue focusing on execution of our clinical and operational development strategies. As we look toward 2021, I believe that the Company is well positioned to deliver on multiple milestones and build upon the momentum we generated in 2020 as we continue to advance to our goal of becoming a leading biopharmaceutical company developing innovative therapeutics to improve outcomes for patients with rare diseases and select oncology indications.”
Recent Product Highlights and Developments
Strengthened Management team
Delisted From AIM
Full Year 2020 Financial Results
Full year 2020 research and development expenses were £16.3 million, compared to £23.6 million in 2019. R&D expenses relating to setrusumab decreased by £6.0 million, or 44%. The decrease was driven primarily by the completion of the adult Phase 2b study which reported top-line data in November 2019, with a further update in January 2020. Following the licensing and collaboration agreement with Ultragenyx, future ongoing development costs for setrusumab are expected to decrease significantly. R&D expenses relating to alvelestat remained consistent, reflecting the ongoing Phase 2 proof-of-concept study. R&D expenses relating to leflutrozole decreased by £1.0 million, or 88%, due to the completion of the Phase 2b study in 2019 and limited activity in 2020 following the completion of the study. Similarly, there were no ongoing studies for acumapimod in 2020 and this resulted in a decrease in R&D expenses for acumapimod of £0.3 million, or 72%. Partially offsetting the decrease, R&D expenses relating to etigilimab increased by £0.3 million, or 34%. The increase was driven primarily by the costs associated with preparing for the open label Phase 1b/2 basket study in combination with an anti-PD-1 in a range of tumor types. We expect the costs related to the etigilimab program to increase significantly in 2021.
Administrative expenses increased by £5.3 million, or 33%, from £15.9 million in 2019 to £21.2 million in 2020. The increase was primarily due to incremental legal and professional fees associated with various transactions during the year. Professional and legal fees increased from £1.7 million to £6.9 million in 2019 and 2020, respectively. The increase reflects transaction costs associated with the June 2020 Private Placement and the cancellation of admission of our ordinary shares to trading on the AIM market of London Stock Exchange in December 2020, along with higher costs associated with the Nasdaq listing and managing a larger business in two jurisdictions following the acquisition of Mereo BioPharma 5, partially offset by intellectual property related costs as a result of lower activity associated with setrusumab. Employee-related costs increased by £1.5 million to £7.3 million in 2020 primarily due to the expansion of our management team in 2020 compared to 2019. Premises-related costs increased by £1.7 million in 2020 primarily due to transaction costs associated with renegotiation of our office lease in Redwood City. This was partially offset by a gain on lease modification of £0.9 million. Offsetting these increases were lower travel-related costs, which decreased by £0.5 million from 2019 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Net loss attributable to equity holders for the year 2020 was £163.6 million, compared to a net loss of £34.8 million in 2019, reflecting an operating loss of £37.6 million, a loss of £109.8 million due to changes in the fair value of financial instruments and a £10.9 million loss on disposal of intangible assets.
Total ordinary shares outstanding at December 31, 2020 were approximately 339 million shares. Total ADSs outstanding at December 31, 2020 were approximately 67.7 million, with each ADS representing five ordinary shares of the Company.
Cash and short-term deposits totaled £23.5 million as of December 31, 2020. Mereo anticipates that its current cash and short-term deposits, which includes the upfront payment received under the collaboration and license agreement with Ultragenyx and our recently completed public offering in February 2021, will extend the Company’s runway into 2024.
About Mereo BioPharma
All of the Company’s forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties some of which are significant or beyond its control and involve assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s historical experience and its present expectations or projections. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties that affect the Company’s business, including those described in the “Risk Factors” section of its latest Annual Report on Form 20-F, reports on Form 6-K and other documents furnished or filed from time to time by the Company with the SEC. The Company wishes to caution you not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements after the date they are made, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent required by law.
Consolidated Balance Sheet
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