Alone, A Loan for Allon

Canada’s Allon Therapeutics today announced that they had borrowed $2.5 million (at 12% interest) from a major shareholder (with convertible options) in order to carry them towards year-end, when they will have pivotal trial data for davunetide in Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. This is just one of numerous cash mini-infusions they have had to cobble together on their own to get to the moment of molecular truth. Yet NIR recalls a conversation with the head of neuroscience for one of the largest of the major pharma companies in late 2010, when he told us that his team had run davunetide through various models, and his conclusion was that davunetide “does what they (Allon) say it does.” Not that such models are powerfully predictive in any way, but it is not to the pharma industry’s credit that no one stepped forward on this project to help it get to the finish line. In fact, it’s a perfect example of why the pharma industry, particularly in neuroscience, has reached the nadir of productivity and credibility into which they are now firmly wedged. Again, this is not to suggest certainty that davunetide will work in PSP, its applicability to that disorder has never been tested in the clinic. But a more efficient path to proving, or disproving, the Principle would have been to everyone’s benefit. If Allon and davunetide succeed, it will be in spite of the pharma industry, not because of it.

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