E Breaking Down VBI Vaccines' Pipeline: Descriptions And Catalysts

Clarus Ventures, by way of its Clarus Lifesciences fund, just reported a 6.72% position in VBI Vaccines Inc. (VBIV). The filing, available here, details a 2.7 million share count, and positions Clarus, which has a history of success in the healthcare space and manages $1.78 billion, as one of the company's leading institutional backers. It's far from the only example of smart money with a stake in VBI, however. The company counts Perceptive Advisors as an institutional backer, having reported a $23.6 million financing, the most recent iteration of this relationship, back in December. Biotech entrepreneur Dr. Phillip Frost, Chairman and CEO of Opko Health Inc. (NASDAQ:OPK ) and biotech investor through his own Frost Gamma Investments Trust, holds a 17% stak.

This is a company with strong institutional interest, and a retail base that is expanding rapidly. VBI is up more than 30% year to date. If the company's operational strategy plays out as planned, however, this 30% could be just the beginning of a longer term upside revaluation. VBI has a pipeline that spans numerous multi billion-dollar target markets, and a portfolio of proprietary technologies, each of which could be a game changer in its field. In other words, the company has multiple shots at some very rewarding goals, and a hit on any one would justify a market capitalization far in excess of that which it currently holds.

Even with this being the case, however, the company remains somewhat under the radar.

Here's a look at VBI's pipeline, and a discussion of why it deserves more retail attention than it's currently drawing.

The company's lead commercial asset is called Sci-B-Vac, and it's a third generation hepatitis B vaccine. The drug is a third generation vaccine, designed using the company's eVLP platform. It's built to improve on the immunogenicity of the current standard of care vaccines in the space (such as GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK)'s Engerix B), and it's currently approved in a number of countries globally, including VBI's native Israel. It's not approved in the US or Europe, however, and these are the company's primary target markets right now. An approval in both would open up a $1 billion preventative vaccination market to VBI, and the company took a big step towards this end with recent announcement that it has received EMA support in Europe to proceed with a phase III that will underpin an approval application in the region on completion. A concurrent phase III is planned in the US, and this should kick off at some point early second half 2017. This is a drug that has a safety and efficacy track record in over 22 clinical studies in more than 4,000 children and adults, and has demonstrated safety and efficacy in over 300,000 patients in currently licensed markets. In other words, it should have no problem hitting its endpoints (which are rooted in seroprotection) in the US and European pivotals, and by proxy, should have a clean run through to commercialization in the two respective markets.

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Disclosure: I do not own shares in any of ...

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