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IP Group upbeat on news from portfolio firms Ceres Power and Istesso

By Josh White

Date: Monday 15 Jul 2019

IP Group upbeat on news from portfolio firms Ceres Power and Istesso

(Sharecast News) - IP Group confirmed on Monday that its portfolio company Ceres Power Holdings has signed a collaboration and licensing agreement with Doosan Corporation to jointly develop SOFC distributed power systems, initially targeted at the Korean commercial building market.
In a separate announcement, it also said that its portfolio company Istesso had announced positive headline results from its Phase 2a study of its investigational drug, MBS2320, for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

On the Ceres-Doosan deal, the FTSE 250 firm said the £8m agreement was over two years, and included licencing, technology transfer and engineering services, subject to the attainment of key milestones.

Doosan would take a system-level licence of Ceres\' proprietary SteelCell SOFC technology to develop a low carbon 5-20kW power system.

It explained that Doosan had established itself as a \"world leader\" in the fuel cell industry, and was now adding solid oxide technology to its existing portfolio of fuel cell technologies.

Doosan\'s existing stationary fuel cell business exceeded one trillion won ($850m) in orders for the first time in 2018, three years after entering the market.

IP Group currently held a direct undiluted beneficial stake of 18.8% in Ceres, which announced last week that results for the year to 30 June would be ahead of market expectations following continued strong commercial activity.

\"We\'re delighted to see Ceres Power go from strength to strength, adding another major partner, South Korea\'s Doosan, to an already impressive list of blue chip partners such as Bosch and Weichai,\" said IP Group\'s head of clean technology, Dr Robert Trezona.

\"Ceres, which is building a new £8m manufacturing facility in Redhill to meet demand, is a great example of how IP Group\'s model of backing and supporting breakthrough technology can help companies scale.\"

Ceres also announced on Monday that it and Doosan intended to explore an expansion of the collaboration to access broader applications within South Korea and internationally, as well as the potential to broaden the collaboration to include manufacturing.

Looking at the Istesso phase 2a results from its MBS2320 trial, IP Group said the study was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial for which the primary objective was to assess the safety and tolerability of MBS2320 over 12 weeks of treatment in patients receiving background methotrexate therapy.

It said the primary objective was met, with MBS2320 being generally well-tolerated with no drug-related serious adverse events.

Amongst secondary objectives, there was evidence of clinical benefit as assessed by the American College of Rheumatology 20% response and Disease Activity Score.

Evidence of benefit was also seen in exploratory endpoints of responder criteria, MRI imaging and the acute-phase reactant, C-reactive protein.

IP Group holds a direct undiluted beneficial stake of 56.4% in Istesso, and was currently reviewing the carrying value of that asset as part of its half-year results process.

\"This is a significant milestone for Istesso,\" said IP Group chief executive officer Alan Aubrey.

\"It is also a great example of IP Group\'s approach of providing long-term support to early-stage therapeutics companies while maintaining a very significant shareholding.

\"Istesso is focussed on the rapidly emerging field of immunometabolism and has a pipeline of assets that work by reprogramming metabolism to treat autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.\"

The company said the Phase 2a study was a 12-week randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multi-centre trial assessing the safety, tolerability and efficacy of MBS2320.

It described MBS2320 as a first-in-class metabolic reprogramming agent for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and was distinguished from existing treatments by its dual mode-of-action that not only reduces inflammation, thereby preventing the progression of disease, but may also promote bone and joint remodelling.

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