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ValiRx quarterly Q&A webinar: key questions answered

20 Jan 2023


On 13 December 2022, ValiRx invited shareholders to join a live quarterly Q&A webinar, where CEO Dr Suzy Dilly and non-executive chairman Dr Kevin Cox, answered questions about ValiRx’s strategy, progress, and plans for 2023.  

Here, we provide an overview of the key questions raised in the Q&A webinar session and summarise our responses to each.

There has been a change in approach by ValiRx to acquiring laboratory facilities. If you were to lease a laboratory, will the majority, if not all, of the associated costs, come from savings made through not outsourcing the work, as you are currently doing?  

The exact numbers are available within our presentation as a downloadable PDF should anyone want to refer to these.

A lot of the savings made will cover costs, but we are looking to bring revenue streams in as well which will, over time, allow the whole of ValiRx to become self-funding. 

Through our experience of developing our own in-house projects, we recognise there’s a gap in the market. We believe there’s an unmet market demand for providing the sort of science and services that we intend to build into our own facility. This give us confidence in being able to source and service third party business. 

How much time on each evaluation will be saved by leasing your own laboratory? Is there a time saving that will allow you to evaluate an increased number of compounds? 

Yes. At the moment, it’s not unusual for the CROs that we use to have a wait time of approximately three to four months to access a lab or scientists. In terms of the number of projects - it’s not just that more projects can be put into the pipeline, it’s that more of the detail of the science can be managed. 

External laboratories do the work that they are directed to do but carrying out our own work in our own lab will allow expansion of the detail of the project. With your own lab, you have flexibility to empower your own scientists to try every angle and adapt as needed, in real time. 

With our own laboratory, we’ll be able to carry out more science - and more expanded science - more quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively.

Are there any government grants available to help fund the new laboratory on top of the savings already highlighted? 

We always keep an eye out for any non-dilutive funding we can access and that includes the obvious sources such as Innovate UK. We routinely apply specific projects to Innovate UK, but as soon as we have the laboratory confirmed in Nottingham, we will be tapping into local resources to identify any potential funding in the area. We have contacts at the regional development agencies in the East Midlands. 

The East Midlands has established itself as a centre for Contract Research Organisations (CROs) and welcomes companies like ValiRx setting up in the region. There is a strong talent pool available in the region, and access to this will allow us to accelerate our growth as we continue to build the business.

We feel that setting up our own facility will be the best way of initiating our tCRO strategy as we can do this fairly promptly, and it provides us with a basis in the longer term to identify additional capabilities to acquire and incorporate into the overall concept. Having our own laboratory will also mean we can look to acquire individual technologies - not just whole companies - as our own lab’s scientists will be able to evaluate and validate those technologies in order to bring them in and offer them to our service users.

In the TheorumRX announcement on 2 November 2021, ValiRx said it would receive payments on signature of the licence agreement plus fees and near-term milestones totalling $2.2m before the end of 2023. When does the clock stop ticking on TheorumRX discussions and ValiRx decide to move into other options? 

We are equally frustrated with the lack of movement on TheorumRX. However, we do believe they are making progress, and that they still have a credible plan to secure their financing and for us to then sign all of the final agreements with them. So, our decision remains unchanged, but if circumstances do change, i.e., progress grinds to a halt, then we will re-assess.

15 months ago, no one could have foreseen the macroeconomic events that have changed the funding climate, changed some of the rules, and changed some of the access to capital that TheorumRX were expecting to have. So, we think it’s perfectly reasonable, based on the feedback we’ve received from them, that their plan remains credible. There isn’t an exact deadline and that allows us to monitor progress on a real-time basis.  

If a deal with TheorumRX was to be signed, will those expected payments be pushed back into 2024, or will there be an accelerated timetable and milestones to make up for that time?  

Some will get pushed back, others won’t - we will look at the exact circumstances at that time. The milestones are predicated on events, and the timeline was made to be reasonably generous. As soon as more information becomes available, we will update all shareholders. 

Who have you been talking to about the Kings College compound (CLX001), and at what stage are you thinking of getting partners involved?

In line with our presentation at BioEurope, we pushed Kings College to sign off on the contract the same day to allow us to present the project and talk openly with potential partners about it. We’re already seeing interest and we do intend to nurture the initial contacts we formed to encourage them to take it on as early as they possibly can. The ideal would be to get someone in a co-development agreement early on, or even to take it off our hands early on: that’s going to be beneficial for everyone.   

We’re inviting anyone interested to schedule a face-to-face meeting with ValiRx at the next BioSpring or BioEurope event to discuss progress. 

To watch the full video recording of the quarterly presentation and Q&A webinar, click here.

For further details on shareholder communications and FAQs, please visit our dedicated webpage here.