I picked a good day to meet with Can-Fite Biopharma (CANF) because that morning the company announced IRB approval from Hadassah Medical Center and Rabin Medical Center, two leading medical institutions in Israel, to commence patient enrollment in a Phase 2 study of namodenoson (formerly CF102) in the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the precursor to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
This is very exciting for investors in Can-Fite because NASH is an incredibly hot area for large-cap pharma attention right now. I discussed some recently NASH deals and why I’m excited about namodenoson in this indication back in September 2016. Since that time, Can-Fite has released additional preclinical data with namodenoson demonstrating the drug inhibited, in a dose-dependent manner, the growth and proliferation of the liver fibrosis cells. Positive Phase 2 data with namodenoson in NASH should be a major catalyst for re-valuation of the shares later this year. Investors should also keep in mind, Can-Fite is enrolling patients in a Phase 2 study examining namodenoson in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). I’m hoping to see this trial fully enroll by the end of the first quarter and report data later in the year.
We also discussed the company’s business development activities; and, while management could obviously not get too specific on things, I am hoping we will see a deal for piclidenoson (formerly CF101) and/or namodenoson in 2017. I believe that the partnering of piclidenoson for both rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis in Europe and/or U.S. should unlock meaningful value in the shares. I am also particularly interested in seeing the HCC data with namodenoson later in the year because the opportunity to partner the drug for this indication in Asia is tremendous. Obviously, positive data with namodenoson in NASH is a game-changer for the company.