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Sierra Oncology Reports Second Quarter 2019 Results

Sierra Oncology, Inc. (SRRA), a late-stage drug development company focused on advancing targeted therapeutics for the treatment of patients with significant unmet needs in hematology and oncology, today reported its financial and operational results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2019.

“During the second quarter, we achieved major milestones in the development programs for our drug candidates. We reported Phase 3 regulatory clarity and the granting of Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for our lead asset, momelotinib, and we reported proof-of-concept clinical data for our Chk1 inhibitor, SRA737, at the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting, suggesting that this drug candidate has a defined clinical path forward toward potential initial registration,” said Dr. Nick Glover, President and CEO of Sierra Oncology. “Our current focus is on preparing for the launch of the MOMENTUM Phase 3 clinical trial, expected in the fourth quarter of 2019, designed to support potential registration of momelotinib on a global basis. We also continue to develop the assets in our DDR portfolio, SRA737 and SRA141, and have previously announced we are conducting a campaign intended to seek non-dilutive strategic options to support their further advancement.”

Second Quarter 2019 Highlights:

Momelotinib (targeting JAK1/JAK2/ACVR1):

  • During the second quarter, Sierra obtained regulatory clarity with the FDA concerning the design of a Phase 3 clinical trial for momelotinib intended to support its potential registration.
  • Sierra also announced the design of the MOMENTUM Phase 3 clinical trial, planned for launch in the fourth quarter of 2019. The randomized double-blind trial is designed to enroll 180 myelofibrosis patients who are symptomatic, anemic and have been treated previously with a JAK inhibitor. The Primary Endpoint of the trial is the Total Symptom Score (TSS) response rate of momelotinib compared to danazol at Week 24 (99% power; p-value < 0.05). Dr. Srdan Verstovsek, MD, PhD, Chief, Section for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, has been named Chief Investigator of the MOMENTUM trial.
  • Sierra also reported that the FDA has granted Fast Track designation to momelotinib for the treatment of patients with intermediate/high-risk myelofibrosis who have previously received a JAK inhibitor.

DNA Damage Response (DDR) portfolio (SRA737 and SRA141):

  • At the 2019 ASCO Annual meeting, Sierra reported preliminary efficacy and safety data from two ongoing clinical trials evaluating SRA737 across multiple indications, as monotherapy and when potentiated by non-cytotoxic low-dose gemcitabine (LDG). SRA737 demonstrated notable anti-cancer activity in multiple indications including a 30% Overall Response Rate in evaluable patients with anogenital cancer treated with SRA737+LDG, an indication for which the second line metastatic setting represents a significant unmet medical need with no approved therapies and very poor life expectancy. Additionally, evaluable RAS wild-type subjects whose tumors harbored FA/BRCA gene network mutations displayed favorable outcomes across multiple indications, with an Overall Response Rate of 25%.
  • During the second quarter, Sierra announced plans to prioritize its resources on the development of momelotinib and that it has launched a campaign exploring non-dilutive strategic options to support the future continued development of its portfolio of DDR assets.

Second Quarter 2019 Financial Results (all amounts reported in U.S. currency)

Research and development expenses were $11.7 million for the three months ended June 30, 2019, compared to $8.8 million for the three months ended June 30, 2018. The increase was primarily due to momelotinib related costs, including a $3.1 million increase in clinical trial and development related costs and a $1.2 million increase in third-party manufacturing costs, and a $1.1 million increase in personnel-related and allocated overhead costs. These increases were partially offset by decreases in SRA737 and SRA141 costs, including a $1.3 million decrease in third-party manufacturing costs, a $0.7 million decrease in clinical trial costs primarily related to SRA737, and a $0.5 milliondecrease in research and preclinical costs. Research and development expenses included non-cash stock-based compensation of $1.2 million for the three months ended June 30, 2019 and 2018.

Research and development expenses were $21.9 million for the six months ended June 30, 2019, compared to $17.1 million for the six months ended June 30, 2018. The increase was primarily due to momelotinib related costs, including a $4.4 million increase in clinical trial and development costs and a $1.3 million increase in third-party manufacturing costs, and a $2.4 million increase in personnel-related and allocated overhead costs. These increases were partially offset by decreases in SRA737 and SRA141 costs, including a $2.2 million decrease in third-party manufacturing costs and a $1.2 million decrease in research and preclinical costs. Research and development expenses included non-cash stock-based compensation of $2.4 million and $2.2 million for the six months ended June 30, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

General and administrative expenses were $3.5 million for the three months ended June 30, 2019, compared to $4.2 million for the three months ended June 30, 2018. This decrease was primarily due to decreases in professional fees of $0.4 million and personnel-related and allocated overhead costs of $0.3 million. General and administrative expenses included non-cash stock-based compensation of $0.5 million and $0.6 million for the three months ended June 30, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

General and administrative expenses were $6.8 million for the six months ended June 30, 2019, compared to $7.6 million for the six months ended June 30, 2018. This decrease was primarily due to decreases in professional fees of $0.5 million and personnel-related and allocated overhead costs of $0.3 million. General and administrative expenses included non-cash stock-based compensation of $1.0 million and $1.1 million for the six months ended June 30, 2019and 2018.

For the three months ended June 30, 2019, Sierra incurred a net loss of $14.9 million compared to a net loss of $12.0 million for the three months ended June 30, 2018. For the six months ended June 30, 2019, Sierra incurred a net loss of $27.9 million compared to a net loss of $23.5 million for the six months ended June 30, 2018.

Cash and cash equivalents totaled $78.8 million as of June 30, 2019, compared to $106.0 million as of December 31, 2018. At June 30, 2019, there were 74,688,283 shares of common stock issued and outstanding, an additional 13,335,583 issuable upon exercise of stock options and warrants, and a term loan of $5.0 million.

Equity Inducement Plan

On August 5, 2019, the Compensation Committee of Sierra Oncology’s Board of Directors granted non-qualified stock options to purchase an aggregate of 112,000 shares of its common stock to two new employees under Sierra Oncology’s 2018 Equity Inducement Plan.

The 2018 Equity Inducement Plan is used exclusively for the grant of equity award to individuals who were not previously an employee or non-employee director of Sierra (or following a bona fide period of non-employment), as an inducement material to such individual’s entering into employment with Sierra, pursuant to Rule 5635(c)(4) of the NASDAQ Listing Rules.

The options have an exercise price of $0.49 per share, which is equal to the closing price of Sierra’s common stock on the date of grant. Each option will vest and become exercisable as to 25% of the shares on the first anniversary of the recipient’s start date, and then will vest and become exercisable as to the remaining 75% of the shares in 36 equal monthly installments following the first anniversary, in each case, subject to each such employee’s continued employment with Sierra on such vesting dates. The options are subject to the terms and conditions of Sierra’s 2018 Equity Inducement Plan, and the terms and conditions of the stock option agreement covering the grant. – PR Newswire

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