Clinical-stage biotech company Syntara (ASX: SNT) has stepped into a transformative year with a renewed focus on drug development. Entering 2024, the Company took the “new year, new me” concept seriously, divesting its Pharmaxis mannitol business and rebranding as Syntara with new leadership to include high profile biotech experts that have commercialised drugs for Big Pharma.
Dr Kathleen Metters, a luminary in the pharmaceuticals industry, now serves as the Chairperson of Syntara’s Board. Her experience includes being the Senior Vice President and Head of Worldwide Basic Research for Merck & Co. With Merck standing among the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, boasting a market cap exceeding $400 billion, Dr. Metters’ appointment signals a strategic alignment for Syntara which has two drugs undergoing Phase 2 clinical trials and within the sights of Big Pharma companies.
Dr Simon Green is another key figure on Syntara’s Board as a non-executive director, best known in industry circles for driving CSL’s global expansion during his 17-year tenure.
Rounding out the non-executive team is director Hashan De Silva, who brings a proven blend of financial acumen and biotech insights to Syntara. During his time as Healthcare Analyst with Karst Peak, De Silva was an early backer of two stocks: regenerative medicine business Avita Medical and neurological drug developer Neuren Pharmaceuticals, which climbed 109% and 82% in 2023. Karst Peak has since taken a substantial interest in Syntara.
Institutional investors have already demonstrated confidence in the Company, with $10 million raised from professional shareholders in December 2023. Some of these included shareholders of Syntara’s competitors which were ultimately acquired by Big Pharma in 2021 and 2022 for USD $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion respectively.
Currently, Syntara’s focus is on completing their Phase 2 clinical trials for SNT-5505 as a treatment for myelofibrosis, a rare form of bone marrow cancer. The final cohort of patients has commenced dosing in a combination study which has the potential to establish a new standard of care in a market where myelofibrosis treatments generate more than USD $1 billion per annum.
Regulatory scrutiny and funding needs mean that drug development faces an uphill battle but as each drug advances from preclinical to Phase 1 and then Phase 2 clinical trials, the commercial prospects increase substantially. For every 10,000 compounds screened, for example, only 4 complete Phase 2 clinical trials and SNT-5505 is on track to be one of them.
This open-label study plans to release interim data on six months of treatment in Q4 2024, with final data expected in Q2 2025 after 12 months of treatment.
As Syntara embarks on this journey, the Board’s collective expertise positions the Company as a compelling investment opportunity in the evolving biotech landscape. With proven leaders in the biotech space, a new name, and growing the commercial profile of their drugs, Syntara is on track addressing cancers with unmet treatment needs.
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