Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Nature of Business and Liquidity

Nature of Business and Liquidity
6 Months Ended
Jun. 30, 2019
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Nature of Business and Liquidity Nature of Business and Liquidity
The terms "MBI" or "the Company", "we", "our", and "us" are used herein to refer to Moleculin Biotech, Inc. MBI is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, organized as a Delaware corporation in July 2015, with its focus on the treatment of highly resistant cancers via the development of its oncology drug candidates, all of which are based on license agreements with The University of Texas System on behalf of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, which we refer to as MD Anderson. MBI formed Moleculin Australia Pty. Ltd., (MAPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary in June 2018, to begin preclinical development in Australia for WP1732, an analog of WP1066. This may enable the Company to enjoy the benefits of certain research and development tax credits in Australia. In February 2019, the Company entered into an agreement with Animal Life Sciences, LLC ("ALI"), where the Company has granted a sublicense to ALI to research, develop, make, have made, use, offer to sell, sell, export or import and commercialize certain licensed products for non-human use and share development data. ALI issued to the Company a 10% interest in ALI. ALI converted into a corporation and became Animal Life Sciences, Inc.

Core Technologies - MBI has three core technologies with six drug candidates, all of which are based on discoveries made at MD Anderson. These core technologies are 1) Annamycin, 2) its STAT3 Immune/Transcription Modulators, or simply "Immune/Transcription Modulators", WP1066 portfolio and 3) its Metabolism/Glycosylation Inhibitor portfolio. The Company’s clinical stage drugs are Annamycin, an anthracycline being studied for the treatment of relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia, or AML and WP1066, an Immune/Transcription Modulator targeting brain tumors, pancreatic cancer and AML. WP1220, an analog of WP1066, had its Clinical Trial Application ("CTA") for the topical treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma ("CTCL"), a form of skin cancer, approved by Polish regulators in January 2019 with the first patients enrolled in March 2019. MBI is also engaged in preclinical development of additional drug candidates, including other Immune/Transcription Modulators, as well as Metabolism/Glycosylation Inhibitors. With the approval of the Polish clinical trial in January 2019 for WP1220 for the treatment of CTCL, the Company now has three drugs in four clinical trials.

The Company believes Annamycin is a "Next Generation Anthracycline" since it is designed to avoid the multidrug resistance mechanisms that typically defeat currently approved anthracyclines and to produce little to no cardiotoxicity, which is the dose limiting toxicity of all currently approved anthracyclines. Annamycin is currently in two Phase I/II clinical trials, and preliminary clinical data suggests that it may have the potential to become the first therapy suitable for the majority of relapsed or refractory AML patients.

WP1066 is one of several Immune/Transcription Modulators that appear capable of stimulating immune response to tumors by inhibiting the errant activity of Regulatory T-Cells ("TRegs") while also inhibiting key oncogenic transcription factors, including p-STAT3, c-Myc and HIF-1α. These transcription factors are widely sought targets that may also play a role in the lack of efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors in certain resistant tumors.

The Company is also developing new prodrugs to exploit the potential uses of inhibitors of glycolysis and glycosylation. Its lead Metabolism/Glycosylation Inhibitor compound, WP1122, provides an opportunity to cut off the fuel supply of tumors by taking advantage of their overdependence on glucose as compared with healthy cells. New research also points to the potential for the glucose decoy ("2-DG") within WP1122 to be capable of enhancing the usefulness of checkpoint inhibitors.

Drug Candidates - Within the Company's core technologies, it currently has six drug candidates representing three substantially different approaches to treating cancer. Annamycin is a chemotherapy designed to inhibit the replication of DNA of rapidly dividing cells and is the Company's most mature drug candidate. Annamycin had been in clinical trials pursuant to an investigational new drug application or IND that had been filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. Due to a lack of development activity by a prior drug developer, this IND was terminated. To permit the renewed investigation of Annamycin, the Company resubmitted a new IND for a Phase I/II trial for the treatment of relapsed or refractory AML in August 2017, which the FDA allowed to go into effect in September 2017. The Company has trials open in the US and Poland and is actively recruiting in both countries.

The Company has five other drug development projects, some of which are also in clinical trials:
WP1066 has an approved physician-sponsored clinical trial open for enrollment and dosing patients for the treatment of brain tumors and is also being evaluated for potential treatment of pediatric brain tumors, as well as AML and pancreatic cancer,
WP1220 is an analog of WP1066 for which the Company filed a Clinical Trial Application ("CTA") in Poland for the topical treatment of CTCL, which was approved in January 2019, and for which the first patients were enrolled in March 2019,
WP1732, another analog of WP1066 that the Company believes is particularly well suited for intravenous administration, is being evaluated for potential treatment of AML, pancreatic and other cancers, and MBI has begun pre-clinical work that it expects to generate sufficient data for an IND filing in 2019, which filing is expected to be submitted in 2020, and
WP1122 and WP1234 are being evaluated for their potential to treat brain tumors and pancreatic cancer via their ability to inhibit glycolysis.

Clinical Trials - The Company believes that patient recruitment for its Annamycin clinical trial in the US has been slow due to the high number of competitive clinical trials, combined with the FDA’s requirement to set the initial dose level relatively low in comparison with previous Annamycin clinical trials. Additionally, the Company believes that patient recruitment for its clinical trial in Poland has been more successful than in the US due to a comparatively lower number of competitive clinical trials and the protocol there being approved to start at a significantly higher dose than in the US with fewer enrollment screening limitations.

In May 2018, the Company engaged another contract research organization ("CRO") to evaluate additional countries for the expansion of its AML clinical trial, specifically Australia and several Western European countries to provide additional clinical sites to improve access to patients for MBI's trial. This evaluation is ongoing.

In July 2018, the physician-sponsored WP1066 Phase I clinical trial for the treatment of glioblastoma and melanoma metastasized to the brain opened for recruitment and began treating patients in September 2018.

In September 2017, the Company engaged a CRO to prepare for a proof-of-concept clinical trial in Poland to study its drug candidate WP1220, a part of the WP1066 portfolio, for the treatment of CTCL. The Company subsequently filed a CTA in Poland for this use, which was approved subsequent to December 31, 2018, and gave the Company its third drug in its fourth clinical trial. This trial began enrolling patients in March 2019.

Licenses - The Company has been granted royalty-bearing, worldwide, exclusive licenses for the patent and technology rights related to all of MBI's drug technologies, as these intellectual property rights are owned in part or entirely by MD Anderson. The Annamycin drug substance is no longer covered by any existing patent protection, however, the Company filed new patent applications in July 2019 for formulation, synthetic process and reconstitution related to MBI's Annamycin drug product candidate, although there is no assurance that the Company will be successful in obtaining such patent protection. Such technology is also licensed from MD Anderson. Independently from potential patent protection, MBI has received Orphan Drug designation ("ODD") from the FDA for Annamycin for the treatment of AML and for WP1066 for the treatment of glioblastoma. ODD may provide tax and other benefits during product development, and if either product is approved, may lead to a grant of seven-year market exclusivity. Under that exclusivity, which runs from the date of the approval of the New Drug Application ("NDA") in the United States, the FDA generally (there are important exceptions) could not approve another for the designated indication. The Company also intends to apply for similar status in the European Union ("EU") where market exclusivity could extend to 10 years from the date of Marketing Authorization Application ("MAA") approval. Separately, the FDA may also grant market exclusivity of 5 years for newly approved new chemical entities (which the Company believes Annamycin would be one), but there can be no assurance that such exclusivity will be granted.

Moleculin, LLC - Prior to MBI's initial public offering, the Company acquired Moleculin, LLC which was merged with and into MBI. Moleculin, LLC was the holder of a license agreement with MD Anderson covering technology referred to as the WP1066 Portfolio, which is focused on the modulation of key oncogenic transcription factors.