Form 10-Q for NEURALSTEM, INC.
We urge you to read this entire Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, including the “Risk Factors” section, the financial statements, and related notes. As used in this Quarterly Report, unless the context otherwise requires, the words “we,” “us,” “our,” “the Company,” “Neuralstem” and “Registrant” refers to Neuralstem, Inc. and its subsidiaries. Also, any reference to “common shares,” “common stock,” or “shares” refers to our $.01 par value common stock. The information contained herein is current as of the date of this Quarterly Report (March 31, 2015), unless another date is specified. We prepare our interim financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Our financials and results of operations for the three-month period ended March 31, 2015 are not necessarily indicative of our prospective financial condition and results of operations for the pending full fiscal year ending December 31, 2015. The interim financial statements presented in this Quarterly Report as well as other information relating to our company contained in this Quarterly Report should be read in conjunction and together with the reports, statements and information filed by us with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC.
Our Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations or MD&A, is provided in addition to the accompanying financial statements and notes to assist readers in understanding our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Our MD&A is organized as follows:
� Executive Overview – Discussion of our business and overall analysis of financial and other highlights affecting the Company in order to provide context for the remainder of MD&A.
� Trends & Outlook – Discussion of what we view as the overall trends affecting our business and overall strategy.
� Critical Accounting Policies- Accounting policies that we believe are important to understanding the assumptions and judgments incorporated in our reported financial results and forecasts.
� Results of Operations- Analysis of our financial results comparing the three-month periods ended March 31, 2015 to the comparable period of 2014.
� Liquidity and Capital Resources- An analysis of cash flows and discussion of our financial condition and future liquidity needs.
We have developed and maintain a portfolio of patents and patent applications that form the proprietary base for our research and development efforts. We own or exclusively license ninety-six (96) U.S. and foreign issued patents and fifty-three (53) U.S. and foreign patent applications in the field of regenerative medicine, related to our stem cell technologies as well as our small molecule compounds. At times we have licensed the use of our intellectual property to third parties.
Regenerative medicine is still an emerging field. Regenerative medicine is the process of creating living, functional tissues to repair or replace tissue or organ function lost due to age, disease, damage, or congenital defects. There can be no assurances that we will ultimately produce any viable commercialized products and processes. Even if we are able to produce a commercially viable product, there are strong competitors in this field and our products may not be able to successfully compete against them.
All of our research efforts to date are at the pre-clinical or clinical stage of development. We are focused on leveraging our key assets, including our intellectual property, our scientific team and our facilities, to advance our technologies. In addition, we are pursuing strategic collaborations with members of academia and industry.
We have devoted substantially all our efforts to the development of our stem cell and small molecule compounds and their pre-clinical and clinical development. Below is a description of our five most advanced clinical programs, their intended indication, current stage of development and our expected development plans:
Program Indication Development Status Development Plan NSI - 566 Amyotrophic Completion of Preparation for a Lateral Sclerosis Phase II clinical controlled Phase (ALS) trial primarily II trial expected evaluating safety. to commence in 2015. NSI - 566 Chronic Spinal Ongoing Phase I The Phase I trial Cord Injury clinical trials. is ongoing. NSI - 566 Motor deficits due Completion of The Phase II trial to ischemic stroke Phase I clinical is expected to trial evaluating commence in 2015. safety. NSI - 189 Major Depressive Phase II The Phase II trial Disorder preparation is expected to underway. commence in mid 2015. NSI-189 Cognitive Deficit Phase Ib The Phase Ib trial in Schizophrenia preparation. is expected to commence in 2015.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. In ALS, nerve cells (neurons) waste away or die, and can no longer send messages to muscles. This eventually leads to muscle weakening, twitching, and an inability to move the arms, legs, and body. The condition slowly gets worse. When the muscles in the chest area stop working, it becomes hard or impossible to breathe. NSI-566 is under development as a potential treatment for ALS by providing cells designed to nurture and protect the patients’ remaining motor neurons; and possibly repair some of the diseased motor neurons which have not yet died. Neuralstem received orphan designation by the FDA for NSI-566 in ALS which allows more imminent FDA reviews and responses.
Chronic Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury, or SCI, generally refers to any injury to the spinal cord that is caused by trauma instead of disease although in some cases, it can be the result of diseases. Chronic spinal cord injury refers to the time after the initial hospitalization. Spinal cord injuries are most often traumatic, caused by lateral bending, dislocation, rotation, axial loading, and hyperflexion or hyperextension of the cord or cauda equina. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of SCIs, while other causes include falls, work-related accidents, sports injuries, and penetrations such as stab or gunshot wounds. In certain instances, SCIs can also be of a non-traumatic origin, as in the case of cancer, infection, intervertebral disc disease, vertebral injury and spinal cord vascular disease. We believe that NSI-566 may provide an effective treatment for chronic spinal cord injury by “bridging the gap” in the spinal cord circuitry created in traumatic spinal cord injury and providing new cells to help transmit the signal from the brain to points at or below the point of injury.
During the first quarter of 2013, we received authorization from the United States Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, to commence our proposed Phase I clinical trial to treat chronic spinal cord injury. The entire trial will take place at The University of California, San Diego. The trial commenced during the third quarter of 2014 and the first patient was treated in October 2014. We expect to complete enrollment in the first half of 2015 and data is expected in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Motor Deficits Due to Ischemic Stroke
Ischemic strokes, the most common type of stroke, occur as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. Post-stroke motor deficits include paralysis in arms and legs and can be permanent. We believe that NSI-566 may provide an effective treatment for restoring motor deficits resulting from ischemic stroke by both creating new circuitry in the area of injury and through repairing and or nurturing diseased cells to improve function in patients.
In September of 2012, we received authorization from the FDA to commence a human clinical trial for treatment of motor deficits due to ischemic stroke. The trial is being conducted by Neuralstem China, at BaYi Brain Hospital in Beijing, China utilizing our spinal cord stem cells. The trial authorization encompasses a combined phase I/II/III design and will test direct injections of NSI-566 into the brain, the same cell product used in our recently-completed Phase II ALS trial in the United States. The trial commenced in the fourth quarter of 2013 and is designed to enroll up to 118 patients. The first phase of the trial is structured to confirm the maximum safe tolerated dose and has been fully enrolled. We expect to begin the Phase II portion of the trial in 2015.
Acute Spinal Cord Injury
In the fourth quarter of 2013 we filed an investigatory new drug application, or IND, with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in Korea, or MFDS, to start a trial for treatment of acute spinal cord injury (within several weeks of the injury) in Seoul Korea. If approved as submitted, this trial will treat complete patients, who are those who have no sensory or motor function below the point of the injury and also progressively incomplete patients, who have varying degrees of each. We now anticipate this trial being authorized by MFDS in 2015.
NSI – 189 (Small Molecule Pharmaceutical Compound)
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Major depressive disorder, or MDD (also known as recurrent depressive disorder, clinical depression, major depression, unipolar depression, or unipolar disorder), is a mental disorder characterized by episodes of all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. NSI-189 is being developed for the treatment of major depressive disorder and other psychiatric and/or cognitive impairment indications associated with hippocampal atrophy. NSI-189 is the lead compound in our neurogenic small molecule drug platform. We believe that NSI-189 may provide an effective treatment for patients suffering from MDD by structurally rebuilding the hippocampus.
Cognitive Deficit in Schizophrenia
We have expanded the NSI-189 program to include a second indication for the treatment of cognitive deficit in schizophrenia. Cognitive deficit is a prominent characteristic of schizophrenia that is correlated with the occurrence of hippocampal atrophy in this patient population. We expect the Phase Ib trial to commence in 2015.
Our technology enables the isolation and large-scale expansion of human neural stem cells from all areas of the developing human brain and spinal cord, thus enabling the generation of physiologically relevant human neurons of all types. We believe that our stem cell technology will assist the body in producing new cells to replace malfunctioning or dead cells as a way to treat disease and injury. Many significant and currently untreatable human diseases arise from the loss or malfunction of specific cell types in the body. Our focus is the development of effective methods to generate replacement cells from neural stem cells. We believe that replacing damaged, malfunctioning or dead neural cells with fully functional ones may be a useful therapeutic strategy in treating many diseases and conditions of the central nervous system. We own or exclusively license thirty-eight (38) U.S. and foreign issued patents and thirty-seven (37) U.S. and foreign patent applications related to our stem cell technologies.
Small Molecule Pharmaceutical Compounds
We have developed and patented a series of small molecule compounds. We believe the low molecular weight organic compounds can efficiently cross the blood/brain barrier. In mice, research indicated that the small molecule compounds both stimulate neurogenesis of the hippocampus and increase its volume. Our collaborators at Massachusetts General Hospital have presented the human data from the MDD trial which showed clinically meaningful and statistically significant improvement in depressive and cognitive scales. We believe the small molecule compounds may assist in reversing atrophy in the human hippocampus documented in indications such as MDD and schizophrenia.
Our small molecule compounds are covered by fifty-eight (58) exclusively owned U.S. and foreign issued patents and sixteen (16) exclusively owned U.S. and foreign patent applications related to our small molecule compounds.
Substantial resources are devoted to our research programs in order to isolate and develop a series of neural stem cell banks that we believe can serve as a basis for our therapeutic product candidates. Our efforts are directed at developing therapies utilizing our stem cells and small molecule regenerative drug candidates. This research is conducted internally, through the use of third party laboratories and consulting companies under our direct supervision, and through collaboration with academic institutes.
We generally employ an outsourcing strategy where we outsource our Good Laboratory Practices, or GLP, preclinical development activities and Good Manufacturing Practices, or GMP, Good Tissue Practices, or GTP, if applicable, and clinical development activities to contract research organizations or CROs and contract manufacturing organizations or CMOs as well as all non-critical corporate functions. Manufacturing is also outsourced to organizations with approved facilities and manufacturing practices. This outsource model allows us to better manage cash on hand and minimize non-vital expenditures. It also allows for us to operate with relatively fewer employees and lower fixed costs than that required by other companies conducting similar business.
We currently manufacture our cells both in-house and on an outsourced basis. We outsource the manufacturing of our pharmaceutical compounds to third party manufacturers. We manufacture, in-house, cells that are not required to meet stringent FDA requirements. We use these cells in our research and collaborative programs. During 2015, we are beginning the process of bringing the manufacturing of our spinal cord stem cells, in-house to better assure availability of our stem cells as the number of patients in our trials increase. We will also continue to outsource manufacturing and storage of our stem cells and pharmaceuticals compound to be used in clinical and pre-clinical work studies to Charles River Laboratories, Inc., of Wilmington, Massachusetts, or Charles River, (stem cells) and Albany Molecular Resources, Inc., or AMRI, (small molecule). We believe both the Charles River and AMRI facilities have the capacity to be used for manufacturing under the FDA’s cGMP and GTP standards, as applicable, in quantities sufficient for our current and anticipated pre-trial and clinical trial needs. We have no quantity or volume commitment with either Charles River Laboratories or AMRI and our cells and pharmaceutical compounds are ordered and manufactured on an as needed basis. As part of our plan to bring a portion of the manufacturing of our stem cells in house, we relocated our headquarters to a facility with GMP manufacturing capability. We anticipate the facility will be ready to commence manufacturing of our stem cells for our clinical trials by the second quarter of 2015. Such increased manufacturing will supplement our current outsource supply of both stem cells and pharmaceutical compounds. We believe such additional manufacturing capacity will be beneficial as our clinical trials expand by indication, geographic region and to larger patient populations and will allow us to begin to build the infrastructure in-house as we move towards complete internal control of our cell manufacturing needs.
As of March 31, 2015, we had 21 full-time employees and four (4) full-time independent contractors. Of these full-time employees and contractors, 18 work on research and development and seven (7) in administration. We also use the services of numerous outside consultants in business and scientific matters.
Our Corporate Information
We were incorporated in Delaware in 2001. Our principal executive offices are located at 20271 Goldenrod Lane, Germantown, Maryland 20876, and our telephone number is (301) 366-4841. Our website is located at www.neuralstem.com.
In addition to announcing material financial information through our investor relations website, press releases, SEC filings and public conference calls and webcasts, we also intend to use the following social media channels as a means of disclosing information about the company, its services and other matters and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD:
� Neuralstem’s Twitter Account (https://twitter.com/Neuralstem_Inc)
� Neuralstem’s Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/Neuralstem)
� Neuralstem’s Company Blog (http://neuralstem.com/neuralstem-ceo-blog)
� Neuralstem’s Google+ Page
� Neuralstem’s LinkedIn Company Page
� Neuralstem Asia’s Tencent Weibo Account ( http://t.qq.com/neuralstem)
The information we post through these social media channels may be deemed material. Accordingly, investors should monitor these accounts and the blog, in addition to following the company’s press releases, SEC filings and public conference calls and webcasts. This list may be updated from time to time.
We have not incorporated by reference into this report the information in, or that can be accessed through, our website or social media channels, and you should not consider it to be a part of this report.
We generated no revenues from the sale of our proposed therapies for any of the periods presented. We are mainly focused on successfully managing our current clinical trials related to our stem cell technology and small molecule compounds. We are also pursuing pre-clinical studies on other central nervous system indications in preparation for potential future clinical trials.
On a long-term basis, we anticipate that our revenue will be derived primarily from licensing fees and sales of our cell based therapy and small molecule compounds. Because we are at such an early stage in the clinical trials process, we are not yet able to accurately predict when we will have a product ready for commercialization, if ever.
Research and Development Expenses
Our research and development expenses consist primarily of contractor and personnel expenses associated with clinical trials and regulatory submissions; costs associated with preclinical activities such as proof of principle for new indications; toxicology studies; costs associated with cell processing and process development; facilities-related costs and supplies. Clinical trial expenses include payments to research organizations, contract manufacturers, clinical trial sites, consultants and laboratories for testing clinical samples.
We focus on the development of treatment candidates with potential uses in multiple indications, and use employee and infrastructure resources across several projects. Accordingly, many of our costs are not attributable to a specifically identified product and we do not account for internal research and development costs on a project-by-project basis.
For a further description of these clinical trials, see the section of this report entitled “Clinical Programs” contained in Item 2.
We expect that research and development expenses, which include expenses related to our ongoing clinical trials, will increase in the future, as funding allows and we proceed into our anticipated Phase II trials. To the extent that it is practical, we will continue to outsource much of our efforts, including product manufacture, proof of principle and pre-clinical testing, toxicology, tumorigenicity, dosing rationale, and development of clinical protocol and IND applications. This approach allows us to use the best expertise available for each task and permits staging new research projects to fit available cash resources.
We have formed a wholly owned subsidiary in the People’s Republic of China. We anticipate that this subsidiary will primarily: (i) conduct pre-clinical research with regard to proposed stem cells therapies, and (ii) oversee our approved future clinical trials in China, including the current trial to treat motor deficits due to ischemic stroke.
General and Administrative Expenses
General and administrative expenses are primarily comprised of salaries, benefits and other costs associated with our operations including, finance, human resources, information technology, public relations, legal fees, facilities and other external general and administrative services.
A critical accounting policy is defined as one that is both material to the presentation of our financial statements and requires management to make . . .