Long-term investors in Dynavax Technologies must be rolling their eyes. Two years after de-emphasising the hepatitis B vaccine Heplisav-B to focus on oncology the company is de-emphasising oncology to focus on Heplisav-B. Embarrassing though this U-turn undoubtedly is, it is nothing compared with the circumstances that led to it: a year ago Dynavax took out a $175m loan, and there is today a real risk that it might breach its covenants. At the first quarter the group had gross cash of $183m, but spent $18.3m to sell just $5.6m of Heplisav-B. The loan’s covenants will be breached if Heplisav-B sells less than $30m for the whole year, and if this happens Dynavax will have to repay it in full. Yesterday’s plan to seek buyers for oncology assets like the TLR9 agonist SD-101, and defenestrate Dynavax’s chief executive, could give the group a shot at focusing everything on achieving the sales target. SD-101 yielded promising data in combination with Keytruda at last year’s Esmo meeting, and last month was said to hold promise combined with 4SC’s HDAC inhibitor domatinostat in mouse studies. Over to 4SC.
|Dynavax's first-quarter highlights|
|Operating net cash outflow||($39.9m)|
|Summary of term loan|
|Maturity date||31 Dec 2023|
|Effective interest rate||10.2%|
|Key covenants||Minimum $15m daily cash & investment balance|
|Minimum $30m of 2019 Heplisav-B sales|