Year of the lion

How 2019 milestones could see Aslan benefit from its 2012 strategy shift

With three data readouts coming in 2019, Aslan Pharmaceuticals Ltd. is hoping this will be the year it starts to reap the benefits of its 2012 strategy rethink, giving the biotech more options for advancing its therapies. A key opportunity will be commercializing lead compound varlitinib on its own, pending a pivotal trial readout in biliary tract cancer.

Launched in 2010, Aslan’s founding strategy was to in-license neglected, early stage compounds, take them through Phase II proof-of-concept testing, then find a partner for late-stage development and commercialization. Aslan leverages its Asia location to enable lower development costs, higher clinical trial recruitment rates and shorter timelines to trial starts than are typical in the U.S. or Europe (see “Aslan: A Bridge to Phase III”).

Of its three clinical compounds, two stand to be first-in-class in their respective indications, and the other could be best-in-class.

The value proposition of those therapies led Aslan to begin rethinking its business strategy as early as 2012, Co-founder and CEO Carl Firth told BioCentury.

“As we were taking these drugs further and further along, we recognized that if all we did was partner them out, we would give up a very significant chunk of value of these assets,” Firth said.

Aslan went back to the companies it had licensed the

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