Portage Biotech – Ready for Round Two?

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The IBR radar goes off yet again in the light of new positive developments in the biotech space, following news announcements from Portage Biotech Inc. (OTC: PTGEF).

Portage is a company that has proclaimed war on cancer.

It is a unique entity in the world of biotechnology, focusing on early- to mid-stage, first- and best-in-class therapies for a variety of cancers.

By providing funding, strategic business and clinical counsel, Portage is catalysing R&D to produce more quality clinical programs throughout its portfolio companies.

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Portage Biotech Inc. has recently announced several press realeases. Here are the highlights:

    1. Intensity Therapeutics announced it has entered into a clinical trial collaboration agreement with Bristol Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY).The program will evaluate the safety and efficacy of Intensity’s lead product INT230-6, an investigational, novel and potent anti-cancer drug designed to directly kill cancer cells.
    2. The financials are up to speed, clearing the way for an expanded investor audience.
    3. Portage has furnished a 6-K form, reporting that the initial proof of concept of the nanolipogel (“NLG”) formulation has been achieved, now triggering the next tranche of capital infusion of $700,000 USD.
      (A 6-K form promotes cross-border information sharing by allowing U.S. investors in foreign securities to have the same access to information that investors in the foreign company’s home market are receiving.)

Further developments oncological treatments are huge wins in the fight against cancer and also of great significance for Portage Biotech Inc.

In round one, PTGEF returned more than $160 million to shareholders in 2018. We are willing to bet they can probably do it again.

We see Portage trading up around the .50 cent range in 2020 from a current .13 representing a possible 4X return.


Note:
The current market cap of Portage is $145M +/-.


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Here is the latest press release dated April 15, 2020.


Portage provides update on portfolio company, Intensity Therapeutics, Inc.

TORONTO, April 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ – (PBT.U: CSE, PTGEF: OTC Markets) – Portage Biotech Inc. (“Portage” or the “Company”) wishes to provide an update on a portfolio company, Intensity Therapeutics, Inc. (“Intensity”). Portage Biotech Inc. holds an 9.7% equity interest in Intensity.

    • Intensity signs clinical trial collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb
    • Intensity’s collaboration with Merck reports favorable safety of INT230-6 in combination with pembrolizumab
    • The company is launching seven phase 2 combination cohorts in solid tumors

Intensity Therapeutics announced  yesterday it has entered into a clinical trial collaboration agreement with Bristol Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY). The program will evaluate the safety and efficacy of Intensity’s lead product INT230-6, an investigational, novel and potent anti-cancer drug designed to directly kill cancer cells through intratumoral injection and improve immune cell recognition of cancer, when dosed in combination with Bristol Myers Squibb’s Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte-Associated Antigen 4 (CTLA-4) immune checkpoint inhibitor Yervoy® (ipilimumab). The combination will be evaluated in patients with breast cancer, liver cancer and advanced sarcoma in a series of new cohorts within IT-01, Intensity’s ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical trial. Intensity will sponsor and conduct the clinical trial and Bristol Myers Squibb will supply Yervoy for use in the study.

“We are pleased to share that Intensity has now partnered with Merck (previously announced on June 25th 2019) and BMS, the two leaders in the cancer immunotherapy space” said Ian B. Walters, MD, CEO of Portage and Chief Medical Officer of Intensity.  Recently (March 14, 2020) Intensity also announced favorable safety from the first cohort of the Keynote A10 study (pembrolizumab/anti-PD1 plus Intensity’s INT230-6).  Intensity is launching into seven phase 2 programs evaluating high unmet medical need tumors types such as colorectal, pancreatic, squamous cell, bile duct, sarcoma, liver and breast cancers.

Here is the latest press release dated April 16, 2020.


Portage announces cease trade order revoked; Update on impact of COVID-19 on operations

Toronto, ON – (April 16, 2020) – Portage Biotech Inc. (CSE:PBT.U, OTC Markets: PTGEF) (“Portage” or the “Company”) wishes to announce that effective April 15, 2020 (the “Effective Date”), the Ontario Securities Commission (the “Commission”) revoked its Failure-to-File Cease Trade Order issued against the Company on August 2, 2019 (the “FFCTO”) and that trading of the Company’s common shares on CSE is expected to resume shortly.

The FFCTO was issued as a result of the Company’s failure to file its audited annual financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2019, accompanying management discussion and analysis together with the related certifications on or before the prescribed filing deadline of July 29, 2019 as required by National Instrument 51-102, Continuous Disclosure Obligations, and NI 52-109, Certification of Disclosure in Issuers’ Annual and Interim Filings, respectively.

Since the issuance of the FFCTO, the Company has filed financial statements, accompanying MD&As and related certifications for each of the following financial periods (collectively, the “Financial Disclosure Documents”):

(i)  the annual financial statements for the year ending March 31, 2019;
(ii)  interim financial statements for the three month period ending June 30, 2019;
(iii)  interim financial statements for the six months ended September 30, 2019; and
(iv)  interim financial statements for the nine months ended December 31, 2019.

As a result of the review of the Company’s continuous disclosure record by the staff of the Commission, the Company filed a Business Acquisition Report (“BAR”) on April 6, 2020 in relation to its acquisition of SalvaRx Limited completed in January, 2019.

The Financial Disclosure Documents and the BAR are available on www.sedar.com. The Company is now up-to-date with its continuous disclosure obligations.

Also in connection with its application for revocation of the FFCTO, the Company has provided an undertaking to the Commission that it would hold an annual meeting of shareholders of the Company within three months of the Effective Date (the “Meeting”). Portage has met all other conditions required by the Commission for revocation of the FFCTO.

To proactively deal with the unprecedented public health impact of coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, and to mitigate risks to the health and safety of our shareholders, employees and other stakeholders, Portage will hold the Meeting in a virtual only format, which will be conducted via live audio webcast. This format is permitted under the Articles of the Company. Shareholders will have an equal opportunity to participate at the Meeting online regardless of their geographic location. Details on how to participate will be contained in the Meeting materials when issued.

COVID-19 Corporate Update
Since December 31, 2019, the outbreak of the novel strain of coronavirus, specifically identified as “COVID-19”, has resulted in governments worldwide enacting emergency measures to combat the spread of the virus, including the implementation of travel bans, quarantine periods and social distancing. The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic and, as the crisis deepens in North America, Portage is actively assessing and responding where possible to its potential impact on the Company’s business. Portage has experienced delays in some of its operating companies due to site closures, limitations on activating new studies as well as shunting of medical resources from oncology clinical trial groups to COVID units. The Company is anticipating that these restrictions will be short lived and that when quarantines are lifted, activities will quickly return to normal. The Company continues to plan for its regulatory submissions and to do work whenever possible in alternative areas that do not have the same restrictions.

The Company and its officers would like to express our deepest gratitude to those medical staff and first responders who work tirelessly to help all those who are affected. We have implemented processes when appropriate to provide these professionals flexibility when complying with our research collaborations.

Here is the SEC Form 6-K dated May 05, 2020.


Portage makes an additional investment in Saugatuck therapeutics after achieving proof of concept.

Toronto, Ontario, May 5, 2020 – (PBT.U: CSE, PTGEF: OTC Markets) – Portage Biotech Inc. (“Portage” or the “Company”) wishes to provide an update on a subsidiary company, Saugatuck Therapeutics Ltd. (“Saugatuck”). Portage Biotech Inc. holds an 70% equity interest in Saugatuck.

Portage is pleased to announce that initial proof of concept of the nanolipogel (“NLG”) formulation has been achieved with the initial investment. This has triggered the next tranche of capital infusion of $700,000 USD. Saugatuck has been able to formulate a proprietary PD1 aptamer in the NLG formulation and have shown the formulation properly modulates PD1 signaling. In non clinical in vivo experiments, the NLG-PD1 performed favorably compared to a mouse PD1 antibody. The additional funding will support exploration of multiple PD1 based co-formulations with small molecules and other DNA aptamers.

Separately, this work has triggered a license from D5 pharma to create additional proprietary DNA aptamers for immune-oncology targets. This license sits in another Portage company, Oncomer. Oncomer supplies Saugatuck with aptamers to be formulated in the NLG platform.

Dr. Ian Walters, CEO of Saugatuck and Portage commented” Most cancers are treated with multiple agents. Our co-formulation platform leverages the ability to modulate several pathways in a single product and direct its distribution to tumors. I am excited to begin testing our next wave of combinations in animal models and prioritizing our first clinical candidate.”

Luka Marjanovic

Chief Analyst

Luka holds a Bachelor’s in International Business from Denmark and a Master’s in International Management from ESADE. During his undergraduate studies he founded his own consulting firm, providing services to local businesses in various sectors; as well as working as a research assistant in the field of Big Data. Prior to his education he served in the Danish Royal Army as Second Sergeant, leading and managing a group of men, under extreme pressures and conditions. Luka has spent significant time abroad, living and working in six different countries.

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