Malin sees clinical trials delays amid Covid-19 crisis

Germ-zapping robot firm backed by Malin sees spike in demand amid virus outbreak

Irish life science investment company Malin Corp said it expected some brief delays in drug clinical trials being carried out by firms in which it is invested amid the coronavirus crisis.

However, a US company in which Malin has a 10 per cent stake, called Xenex, has seen a “huge surge” in demand for its germ-zapping robots as health systems around the world seek to minimise the spread of Covid-19 in hospitals, Malin chief executive Darragh Lyons told The Irish Times.

Malin is “optimistic that there will be a limited impact on its most important and potentially value accretive clinical studies in 2020 since these programmes are in oncology or are fully enrolled”, it said as it reported full-year results.

The company's main assets are stakes in: Poseida Therapeutics, which is developing a treatment for bone marrow cancer; Immunocore, whose key pipeline product is an eye cancer drug; Kymab, which is working on a treatment of eczema; and Viamet, which focuses on antifungal products.


Portfolio of investments

The value of the company’s portfolio of investments declined 9 per cent to €366 million over the course of last year.

This was down to the sale of its stake in Dublin-based healthcare app developer 3D4Medical, and a decline in value of Immunocore as it completed a $130 million (€120 million) fundraising. Malin did not participate in the equity raise, which diluted its stake from about 10 per cent to just over 8 per cent.

“Our investee companies are continuing to progress towards crucial clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones and we are targeting several important value inflection points over the next year. We remain committed to returning capital to shareholders as we realise value from our assets,” Mr Lyons said.

The chief executive said it was “hard to predict” which of the key companies in which Malin is invested would be the first to deliver a massive cash boost to investors from either a trade sale or an initial public offering.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times