Written by Ι Stock Market Media Group Staff — April 8, 2015
NEW YORK, NY – Investors at MabVax Therapeutics (OTCQB: MBVX) must feel like they’re in just the right place at just the right time this week as news of billionaire Bio-Pharma Investor Dr. Phillip Frost, M.D., and his company OPKO Health (NYSE: OPK) have taken a strong interest in the clinical stage cancer immunotherapy company – a $12 million interest. Dr. Frost is the CEO and Chairman of the Board at OPKO Health, and for those familiar with the good doctor, you already know that he and OPKO have a strong record of investing in biopharmaceutical firms.
This week MabVax announced that it closed a private placement with both Dr. Frost and OPKO that netted the company almost $12 million in gross proceeds, and according to the San Diego-based firm, this financing will provide the funds necessary to advance its pipeline of clinical products and to pursue additional preclinical research programs in its pipeline.
First and foremost, MabVax will use part of the funds later this year to initiate Phase 1 human clinical trials for its HuMab 5B1 antibody and to further advance other novel human antibodies. The HuMab 5B1 antibody is being developed by MabVax as both a diagnostic and therapeutic product that targets pancreatic and colon cancer.
For MabVax, closing this deal was vital to the future success of HuMab 5B1 and the company’s pipeline of treatments. MabVax is focused on the development of vaccine and antibody-based therapies to address unmet medical needs in the treatment of cancer, and this financing will advance that work. While the company did receive much-needed funds in the deal, MabVax also received quite an endorsement for their work.
Clearly the company is doing something right when it can capture the attention of investors like Dr. Frost and OPKO Health, two entities that can certainly help the company further its efforts in bringing its treatments to the clinic.
Commenting on the addition of MabVax to OPKO’s list of strategic investments, Dr. Frost said, “The target for MabVax’s first novel human antibody addresses important medical problems in need of better therapeutic solutions. The early data for its HuMab 5B1 antibody are encouraging and MabVax has a pipeline of dozens of novel antibody leads on its discovery platform from which it may select promising candidates to develop through clinical trials.”
For MabVax shareholders, having Dr. Frost and OPKO on board could prove quite beneficial to the company’s future success. After all the list of strategic investments for OPKO is quite impressive. OPKO’s growth strategy includes investing in early-stage companies like MabVax that have valuable proprietary technology and significant potential to create value for the companies own shareholders.
OPKO purchased Prolor Biotech and with it, acquired its long-acting human growth hormone hGH-CTP. In late 2014, hGH-CTP was part of a $570 million licensing deal with Pfizer. That deal has been credited as the catalyst behind the $2.8 billion rise in OPKO’s market cap.
Dr. Frost and OPKO have been lauded for a number of strategic holdings that have proven successful including; Cocrystal Pharma, Inc., Neovasc, Inc., and even with the company’s work to bring SciVac, a biotech firm in Israel, public through a merger with Levon Resources.
MabVax is also no stranger to name dropping, its licensing deals with Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Juno Therapeutics demonstrate that the biopharmaceutical firm is doing many things right in the development of its cancer pipeline. So, now with Dr. Frost and OPKO Health’s $12 million investment on board, it further solidifies that MabVax Therapeutics is heading in the right direction.