Victoria biotech company expects its multi-antibody cocktail therapy "will retain activity" against Omicron variant

In its latest quarterly financial statement, Immunoprecise Antibodies reported a $5-million net loss on revenues of $4.7 million

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      It's been a rough year for shareholders in Immunoprecise Antibodies Ltd.

      The Victoria-based biotech company's share price is down 59 percent so far this year, closing at $7.01 on the Canadian Venture Exchange on December 10.

      On December 13, Immunoprecise Antibodies reported a $5-million net loss on revenues of $4.7 million in the three months ending October 31. That compared to a net loss of $463,584 in the same quarter of 2020.

      The company's market value is $135.82 million and it was holding $38.4 million in cash as of October 31. It works with partners to customize the development of antibodies against diseases, including COVID-19.

      In its financial statement, Immunoprecise Antibodies said it anticipates that its PolyTope® cocktail "will retain activity against Omicron (B.1.1.529)", similar to what's been "observed in vitro models for other variants of concern identified previously".

      This work is being done through its wholly owned subsidiary, Talem Therapeutics. Immunoprecise Antibodies increased its investment to $2.8 million in Talem in the last quarter, up from $1.1 million in the same period of 2020.

      "Our core focus continues to move our proprietary potential therapies in Talem Therapeutics forward, close on a broadening pipeline of new CRO business, while advancing our PolyTope® Cocktail development program, which has taken an even more pressing role in light of the unmet need and total addressable COVID-19 market, which we believe we can fill,” CEO Jennifer Bath said in the statement.

      Bath has a PhD in cellular and molecular biology and taught this subject for 15 years at a college in Minnesota.

      The company's financial statement noted that it has received feedback from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on a pre-investigational new drug.

      Immunoprecise Antibodies has also launched final investigational-new-drug-enabling studies and "has received the initial data related to the safety and toxicity profile of its PolyTope® cocktail".

      On December 10, the B.C. government reported that there have been 10 cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant in three different health authorities.

      Two days later, British prime minister Boris Johnson predicted a "tidal wave" of COVID-19 cases as a result of the arrival of the Omicron variant in the U.K.

      On December 13, the U.K. recorded its first death from this variant, according to BBC News.