Thursday, 31 March 2011

Acasti Listed on the TSX Venture Exchange

Neptune Technologies & Bioressources (NTB - TSX V) (NEPT - NASDAQ)
Basic Shares: 42.0 million
Fully diluted: 45.48 million ********************************************************
The day is finally here when Neptune subsidiary, Acasti Pharma, left its corporate roost to find its own way in the markets with a listing today (March 31st) on the Toronto Stock Exchange Venture Index.

And the first trade of the day rang in at $0.51 but it quickly moved above $0.60. Trading under the symbol, APO, it will open with 64.4 million shares outstanding. Just before that 1st trade, Acasti President, Dr. Tina Sampalis, CFO, Xavier Harland, and COO, Dr. Pierre Lemieux, hosted a conference call that was open to anyone and was announced the night before. Nearly 50 took part in the open-mike call and these critical points were discussed:

  • Acasti has $2.9 million in the bank and final Health Canada clearance to begin the phase 11 clinical trial of Acasti's prescription drug candidate - CaPre - is expected soon, Dr. Sampalis said. Indeed, two of three parts of the clinical trial application have been completed and the regulators questions on the third and final phase have been quickly dealt with;

  • A rights offering that could bring in up to $5.8 million into the fledgling public company is planned at a minimal price of $0.60 per share;

  • Marketing of Acasti's medical food, Onemia, to U.S. doctors and health professionals has gone well. Onemia is aimed directly at the gold standard for Omega -3 capsules - Lovaza - which enjoys estimated sales of $1 billion per year. Acasti COO, Dr. Lemieux, conservatively predicted Onemia sales revenues of up to $2 million in the next 24 months. But he added: "I hope we will make more than that ..." Onemia is a highly refined derivative of Neptune's Krill Oil and is mainly targeted to lower high triglyceride levels;

  • Off topic, Dr. Sampalis told one questioner that the results of clinical trials conducted by Nestle and Yoplait are completed. Results are not yet available, but they are expected before the end of the year. Acasti's mother corporation, Neptune, holds ultimate responsibility for the relationships with Nestle and Yoplait. Dr. Sampalis said only Nestle and Yoplait can release the indication of interest;

  • A clinical research firm owned by the brother of Acasti President, Dr. Tina Sampalis, will conduct the human clinical trials for Acasti's drug candidate. Acasti's board picked JSS Medical Research, which is owned and managed by Dr. John Sampalis, because it has an excellent reputation and it provided the lowest bid during a thorough due diligence process with a number of other clinical research firms. The Acasti board also appointed SNC Lavalin Pharma to act as independent auditors to supervise the clinical trial with special emphasis on the trial achievements, milestones and payments.

To view the full Acasti news release, please click here.