"Cosmo Pharmaceuticals is a global leader in the gastrointestinal (GI) space, including IBS, colonic infections and colorectal cancer (CRC), and our goal is to increase the effectiveness of CRC detection."
Can you introduce Cosmo Pharmaceuticals and highlight the evolution of its product offer?
Cosmo Pharmaceuticals is a global leader in the gastrointestinal (GI) space, including IBS, colonic infections and colorectal cancer (CRC), and our goal is to increase the effectiveness of CRC detection. Our first drug Lialda (Mesalamine), licensed to Shire (Takeda), sold almost as much as a blockbuster: US$1 billion/year in the US. Since then, we have constantly introduced further innovations, like a new drug using budesonide as an active ingredient against the most severe ulcerative colitis, as well as an antibiotic for colonic infections. We did not shy away from the area of medical devices either: Our MethalyneBlue MMX is the first drug used in colonoscopy to detect CRC, while our GI Genius is the first AI-enabled tool to detect colorectal polyps.
What does your MMX Proprietary technology entail?
The Multi-Matrix Technology (MMX Technology) is a technology allowing tablets to progressively unfold during the colonic tract to ensure the uniform and thorough dispersion of the active ingredient across the length of the colon’s lumen. This is an important innovation because, traditionally, delayed-release formulas would simply release the API in the initial part of the colon. Our technology allows patients to receive the full colonic coverage with fewer tablets, while favouring absorption at the colon’s level, rather than dispersing the API in the stomach or small intestine. Each of our products has a different MMX formulation, and the approach varies depending on the active ingredient used. MethyleneBlue MMX is an example of our latest drug manufactured with the MMX technology, approved in Europe in 2020.GI Genius is the first AI tool for the detection of lesions during colonoscopy. How is the product performing in the market?
In the US, we have seen an immediate explosion of interest. In the first weeks following the launch, our distributor Medtronic received over 152 million information enquiries on their social media. The progress of GI Genius is much faster in the US than in Europe also because the U.S. healthcare system is mostly private, unlike in Europe. Though we cannot disclose the terms of our agreement with Medtronic, it suffices to say that Cosmo will generate over 20% profit for every dollar made by Medtronic.
How do you see the evolution of AI in the diagnostics space?
AI will completely take over diagnostics because it can perform the tasks of a highly qualified and skilled physician without getting tired or becoming prone to mistakes. When a lesion in the colon is sent to the histopathology lab, the physician visually analyses the sample to determine its nature. Going forward, this task will clearly be performed more effectively by a computer, with less likelihood of error.
Winlevi is a very innovative acne product marketed by Cassiopea. Why is this technology unique?
Winlevi is a very innovative hormonal therapy. This is a first-in-class drug and the first topical androgen receptor inhibitor. When it penetrates the skin, the active principle degrades into de-hydro testosterone, which is a hormone produced by the body. This means that the drug does not create any hormonal imbalance for the patient. Winlevi operates at the root cause of acne, which is the inflammation of the pore in the skin and is extraordinarily safe. The product received FDA authorization in 2020 and has been very well received in the market so far.
What do you make of increased investor appetite in higher-risk pharma, in light of the pandemic?
The current appetite for high-risk ventures comes from the fact that there is high liquidity in the market, so investors do not mind taking risky bets. However, this environment will soon change, and investors will search for safe havens and companies that can generate long-term revenues with lower risks.In the pharmaceutical industry, we see that the value of companies increases with the publication of promising clinical results; when the final results are confirmed, the share price actually tends to drop.
Cosmo Pharmaceuticals recently started trading on Xetra. Can you briefly comment on this update?
We were already traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (DAX) besides the Swiss Stock Exchange (SIX). We wanted to join the main platform to improve the overall liquidity of the shares and the direct outreach to European investors.
Can you highlight some medium-term objectives?
Our goal for the next 12-18 months is to ensure that GI Genius gets full traction in the US market. Yearly, about 32 million colonoscopies are performed in the US and EU, and we address these needs with our offer of GI Genius, Methylene Blue MMX and Eleview.