EDISON, N.J., Jan. 09, 2023 — Hepion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:HEPA), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on Artificial Intelligence (“AI”)-driven therapeutic drug development for the treatment of fibrotic diseases, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (“NASH”), hepatocellular carcinoma (“HCC”), and other chronic diseases, today announced the receipt of $2.9 million in net proceeds from the sale of tax benefits pursuant to the Company’s participation in the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“NJEDA”) NOL program under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, and receipt of a C$416,415 (US$309,000) Alberta Innovation Employment Grant.
NJEDA’s NOL program enables qualified, New Jersey-based technology or biotechnology companies to sell net operating losses to unrelated profitable corporations. This allows qualifying technology and biotechnology companies with NOLs to turn their tax losses and credits into cash proceeds to fund growth and operations, including research and development (“R&D”) or other allowable expenditures.
Alberta’s Innovation Employment Grant program encourages economic growth by supporting small and medium-sized businesses that invest in R&D with a grant worth up to 20% of qualifying expenditures. The program promotes investment and diversification by rewarding all R&D spending in Alberta, Canada, regardless of the industry.
“We appreciate the support of both the State of New Jersey and the Province of Alberta to support innovation within their respective business communities,” said Robert Foster, PharmD, PhD, Hepion’s CEO. “This non-dilutive funding adds to the approximate $59.1 million in cash we had as of the end of Q3-2022, further strengthening the Company’s balance sheet as we continue to advance rencofilstat, our lead oral drug candidate for the treatment of NASH and HCC.”
About Hepion Pharmaceuticals
The Company’s lead drug candidate, rencofilstat, is a potent inhibitor of cyclophilins, which are involved in many disease processes. Rencofilstat is currently in clinical-phase development for the treatment of NASH, with the potential to play an important role in the overall treatment of liver disease – from triggering events through to end-stage disease. Rencofilstat has been shown to reduce liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma tumor burden in experimental models of NASH, and has demonstrated antiviral activities towards HBV, HCV, and HDV through several mechanisms, in nonclinical studies. In November 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) granted Fast Track designation for rencofilstat for the treatment of NASH. That was followed in June 2022 by the FDA’s granting of Orphan Drug designation to rencofilstat for the treatment of HCC.
Hepion has created a proprietary AI platform, called AI-POWR™, which stands for Artificial Intelligence – Precision Medicine; Omics (including genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, and lipidomics); World database access; and Response and clinical outcomes. Hepion intends to use AI-POWR™ to help identify which NASH patients will best respond to rencofilstat, potentially shortening development timelines and increasing the delta between placebo and treatment groups. In addition to using AI-POWR™ to drive its ongoing NASH clinical development program, Hepion intends to use the platform to identify additional potential indications for rencofilstat to expand the company’s footprint in the cyclophilin inhibition therapeutic space.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements may be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “forecast,” “estimated,” and “intend,” among others. These forward-looking statements are based on Hepion Pharmaceuticals’ current expectations and actual results could differ materially. There are a number of factors that could cause actual events to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, substantial competition; our ability to continue as a going concern; our need for additional financing; uncertainties of patent protection and litigation; risks associated with delays, increased costs and funding shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; uncertainties with respect to lengthy and expensive clinical trials, that results of earlier studies and trials may not be predictive of future trial results; uncertainties of government or third party payer reimbursement; limited sales and marketing efforts and dependence upon third parties; and risks related to failure to obtain FDA clearances or approvals and noncompliance with FDA regulations. As with any drug candidates under development, there are significant risks in the development, regulatory approval, and commercialization of new products. There are no guarantees that future clinical trials discussed in this press release will be completed or successful, or that any product will receive regulatory approval for any indication or prove to be commercially successful. Hepion Pharmaceuticals does not undertake an obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement. Investors should read the risk factors set forth in Hepion Pharmaceuticals’ Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, and other periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
For further information, please contact:
Hepion Pharmaceuticals Investor Relations
Direct: (646) 274-3580