Hepion Pharmaceuticals (HEPA) Coverage Starts at $4.50 Price Target

Alex Cho

Alex Cho

CEO l Research Director

[email protected]

Jason Chen

Jason Chen

COO l Research Editor

[email protected]

Jesse Spence

Jesse Spence

Associate Analyst

[email protected]

Shakeel Stewart

Shakeel Stewart

Columnist and Author

Stock: Hepion Pharmaceuticals (HEPA)

Stock Rating: CONVICTION BUY

Price Target: $4.50 (187% Upside)

Market Price: $1.57

Research Publication Date: 5/24/2021

Hepion Pharmaceuticals (HEPA), is a biopharmaceutical company, whose main focus is on the development of treatments for liver disease which are caused by nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and also chronic hepatitis virus infection (HBV, HCV, HDV). 

Currently the company is in the works for a drug called CRV431. CRV431 has the capability of reducing liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma tumor burden based on previous experimental models done for NASH. During preclinicals, CRV431’s potent inhibition of cyclophilin enzymes was illustrated to have the potential for antiviral use against HBV, HCV, and HDV. Though CRV431 is still currently in phase 2 development it has been demonstrated to likely assist in the treatment of liver disease.

We’re initiating coverage on HEPA at CONVICTION BUY with a PT of $4.50. We value the stock based on FY’30 dil. EPS of $11.66 at 45x forward earnings, and apply a 70% discount to our valuation. We believe the market opportunity for NASH is compelling, and not broadly known by market participants, which implies significant upside potential for this early-stage drugmaker. 

Furthermore, the CEO of Hepion Pharmaceuticals, i.e. Robert Foster has successfully raised capital, reached drug approval with a different pharmaceutical company, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AUPH) thus implying less execution risk when compared to other early-stage counterparts. Given the quality of the executive team, deep knowledge of drug development, and the ability to navigate the FDA, we believe the stock is undervalued. 

What is NASH?

Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis, also known as NASH, is the prioritized program of study for Hepion at the moment, following COVID-19 and HBV. But what is NASH? NASH is a form of liver disease which is usually caused by a “Western Diet”. A western diet can consist of processed foods, fried foods, red meat, potatoes, corn, eggs, refined grains, etc.  Eating a western diet consistently for a long period of time can lead to fat accumulation in liver cells (steatosis) or also called Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, or NAFLD. NAFLD can evolve into NASH if the fatty liver gets worse and begins to go through the different stages of cell injury, inflammation, fibrosis, and carcinogenesis. 

As the population increases in consumption of the western diet, they may start to see signs of change with their liver. Over time inflammatory cells begin to invade the liver and this leads to hepatitis. Steatohepatisis would be next, seceding hepatitis. In the event of this occurrence, there is an abundance of lipid vacuoles found in cells. The fibrosis stage follows collagen deposits among cells. As fibrosis extends and the liver begins to lose structure cirrhosis arises. The last change in this sequence of events is cancer. 

After developing NASH it is found that cases of diabetes and hypertension may arise. The reason why many of these diseases get worse is that the population fails to realize they have the disease in the early stages. It can be difficult to find out if someone has the disease in the early stages because the symptoms are not very significant. Patients start to realize the symptoms of NASH when the liver becomes fibrotic.

Hepion drug pipeline and key clinical data points

Figure 1. Clinical Trial Pipeline

Source: Hepion Pharmaceuticals

Currently, Hepion is listed for three programs: NASH, COVID-19, and HBV. The COVID-19 program went through it’s preclinical but was ceased afterward. Hepion will proceed in their COVID-19 program if externally funded. As for their HBV program, the company passed their pre-clinicals and are open to partnerships. The main program at hand is NASH. Fulfilling pre-clinicals and their phase 1 they are now working on their two part Phase 2 trial. The projected NDA filing is estimated for the finalization of all phases by 2025/26. 

The phase 1 trial for Nash was split into three parts. Part 1 attempts to evaluate the safety, PK, and tolerability of a single dose of the drug in healthy volunteers. Part 2 also attempts to test healthy volunteers through a drug-drug interaction (DDI) study of a single dose of CRV431 co-treated with TDF. In part 3 of the Phase 1 trial there was a multiple ascending study of CRV431 which was done daily for 28 days on patients with virally suppressed HBV. Patients with moderate liver fibrosis were used for another dosing cohort. The purpose of this study was also to evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics with multiple dosages of the CRV431 drug. 

With a drug distribution of N=32 (24 CRV431; 8 Placebo) for the single ascending dose, this study demonstrated safety. There was a 75 mg, 225 mg, 375 mg, and 525 mg single dose given to patients. In response to the drug’s single dosage there were no SAE’s, mild AEs, and no dose response in AE’s. There were also no changes in vital signs or ECG. In the multiple ascending dose (MAD) the distribution was set to N=25 (All CRV431). These dosages came in 75 mg, 150 mg, 225 mg, 300 mg, 375 mg QD and it was given to patients for 28 days. There were also no adverse effects from the drug. It was this part of the study which data supported the initiation of Phase 2a. For the Drug-Drug interaction (DDI) the distribution was N=18. This was a single CRV431 drug interaction study with the Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate (TDF) drug.

As for Phase 2 trials it consists of two parts, Phase 2A and Phase 2B. Phase 2A objectives include the safety and tolerability of the 75 mg and 225 mg doses of CRV431 taken daily in the Fibrosis stage 2 (F2)/fibrosis stage 3 (F3) patients for NASH. These patients are also compared to placebo control for  28 days. Two other goals of this phase were to explore biomarkers of fibrosis and lipids metabolism: lipidomics, collagens, genomics, matrix metalloproteinases and also to multi-omic/trait data analysis by AI-POWR. As for Phase 2B the main focus is on efficacy of the 75 mg and 225 mg doses of CRV431 in NASH F2 and F3 patients proven through biopsy. These patients are compared to placebo with over 6 months of dosing. Another objective in this study is to gain a 1-point reduction in the fibrosis score of their liver biopsies. The company also intends on using its AI-POWR system to identify biomarkers of CRV431 from clinical labs, multi-omics, and other trait data. 

So far, Hepion is now in their Phase 2A trials and is hoping to finalize it by Q2-2021. It is also in their plans to complete long-term animal toxicology studies, preferable by Q2-2021 as well. At the moment the company is continuing to optimize and scale up their chemistry and manufacturing. A part of Hepion’s Phase 2 study was to consider results from their Drug-Drug interaction study which is in hopes for completion by Q2-2021. As the company prepares for their Phase 2B trials, planned for mid-2021, they will be able to show the full potential of their AI-POWR mechanism.

AI-POWR Earlier Stage Diagnosis

Hepion’s AI-Power is a platform designed through decades of research. This platform enables, through its publicly available better drug target selections, an improved clinical study design, and a priori-responder analysis. The mechanism illustrates multi-variate, integrative, systems-biology bioinformatics and analysis of huge data. 

Figure 2. How AI-POWR Works

Source: Hepion Pharmaceuticals

Combining the capabilities of deep learning, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in Hepion’s platform AI-POWR, the company is better able to decode disease, develop targeted therapies, and select patients that respond to Hepion’s therapies. The AI intelligence found in AI-POWR is used to accomplish a wide range of tasks which was once necessary from human intelligence. The machine learning aspect of the platform is a bit more complex. Using specific algorithms AI-POWR can assess patient characteristics, drug targets, and even biomarkers to select the correct drug according to the patient’s needs. Deep learning accepts knowledge from other vessels, combines it with Hepion’s data, and uses that information to identify disease and patient-specific responsivity. 

AI-POWR is also being used to assist Hepion in their clinical trials. As a part of the phase 2 clinical trial program for CRV431, AI-POWR is being utilized to help in the drug success in treating non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The AI-POWR platform with the use of its combined strategies has the potential to apply a medicine-based approach towards the treatment of NASH because it is able to find CRV431 and also inform the development of biomarkers. Not only is AI-POWR contributing to the creation of the CRV431 drug but is also being used to alter patient selection for clinical trials. AI-POWR can also help in the identification and evaluation of additional potential indications for CRV431. This helps Hepion to expand their footprint in the cyclophilin inhibition arena. 

AI-POWR’s novel drug target selection capabilities, ability to de-risk clinical trials, fine-tuning of patient selection, biomarker selection, and validation, and potential to improve drug efficiency summarizes the platform’s outstanding addition to the research of CRV431.

Competing drug programs and analysis

Currently, there are a number of drugs that are in clinical trials for the treatment of NASH. Most treatments tend to address late-stage NASH on a five-stage scale. According to a study published by Siddarth Singh and Alina Allen, titled “Fibrosis Progression in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of paired-biopsy studies:”

 Among the study participants (411 adults) roughly 5.7% and 9.3% of patients experienced stage 4 and stage 3, which is where the bulk of clinical programs emphasize treatment. Representing 15% of the total NASH population would be the sickest of patients, and would need more advanced treatment. We anticipate that in our financial model this would be our addressable patient population for late-stage NASH treatment. 

However, finding patients has been a challenge for competing pharmaceuticals, as diagnosing late-stage NASH tends to involve invasive liver biopsy (surgery). This is why Hepion’s development of AI POWR plays a crucial role in identifying NASH patients, but also identifying the specific biomarkers that would render CRV431 effective for the treatment of late-stage NASH. 

Of the advanced clinical trials outside of Hepion’s CRV431, Intercept Pharmaceuticals obeticholic acid has achieved phase 3 clinical trials with less than a quarter of study participants meeting the study’s primary end goal. Other treatments include Gilead’s selonsertib, Genfit’s elafibranor (simtuzumab in diagram below), and Allergan’s cenicriviroc, which have all undergone clinical testing in patients at the middle or high end of the fibrosis scale. Whereas earlier stage developments include Akero’s Efruxifermin.

Currently, the drugs in the NASH pipeline have been struggling on two metrics, NASH resolution  (the underlying disease progression), and Fibrosis improvement (Metavir Scoring System visual progression of fibrosis up until cirrhosis). Some of the drugs are targeted therapies for NASH, whereas other drugs in the diagram below address type-2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, such as Lanifibranor and Semaglutide, where they address Fibrosis improvement.

Achieving a high rate of clinical response has been a key challenge for many of the drugs in clinical trials. Not to mention achieving a high clinical response rate in both NASH and Fibrosis hasn’t occurred yet with data on later-stage developments like Intercept’s obeticholic acid showing very little improvement when compared to placebo in both NASH resolution and Fibrosis Improvement. 

Figure 3. NASH treatment vs Placebo among study cohorts

Source: Hepion Pharmaceuticals

We anticipate that Hepion’s interim phase-2 clinical trial data will compare favorably to various treatments with greater than a 24%+ response rate for liver Fibrosis and 27%+ for NASH. This would translate to strong clinical data when compared to other drugs in the pipeline. 

Animal Models

Animal models were used to confirm the effects of CRV431 in fibrosis. In total, 9 individual studies of fibrosis were conducted. Based upon the results found there was a great consistency and statistically significant antifibrotic effects found in this study. Due to the study being based on animals there might be questions regarding the validity of the study. Despite this, these studies were designed to recapitulate human disease. To compare and contrast, studies taken from a laboratory in the U.K. were added in this current study. The studies done in the U.K. were based on liver and lung tissue samples taken from human donors. 

Figure 4. A summary of CRV431’s non clinical in vivo antifibrotic activity is shown in the following table:

ModelOral Dose(animal)Dosing DurationFibrosis Reduction (Organ)StatisticalSignificance
DIAMOND50 mg/kg(mouse)8 weeks47% (liver)Significantp<0.0001
Streptozotocin (“STAM”) plus High Fat Diet (“HFD”)20 mg/kg(mouse)3 weeks57% (liver)Significantp<0.01
STAM plus HFD50 mg/kg(mouse)6 weeks46% (liver)Significantp=0.03
STAM plus HFD50 mg/kg(mouse)11 weeks37% (liver)Significantp=0.01
STAM plus HFD50 mg/kg(mouse)10 weeks44% (liver)Significantp=0.014
Western Diet + CCl450 mg/kg(mouse)6 weeks82% (liver)Significantp<0.0001
Thioacetamide40 mg/kg(rat)9 weeks48% (liver)Significantp=0.008
CCl450mg/kg(mouse)6 weeks43% (liver)Significantp=0.005
Unilateral Ureteral Obstruction50 mg/kg(mouse)2 weeks42% (kidney)Significantp=0.0006

Source: Hepion Pharmaceuticals

According to Dr. Philippe Gallay, Professor of Immunology at Scripps Research Institution in San Diego, it was stated “The results obtained with the DIAMOND mouse experiment confirm, once again, that CRV431 is a potent antifibrotic agent.” Dr. Arun Sanyal was the developer of this model of NASH. This study consisted of feeding animals for 42 straight weeks, the first 32 were based on fat- and sugar-enriched western diet while the remaining 8 weeks consisted of oral dosing of the CRV431 drug or two comparatory drugs, obeticholic acid and elafibranor. 

CRV431 was able to reduce fibrosis by 47%, obeticholic by 35%, and elafibranor by 37%. 47% fibrosis reduction from CRV431 is a significant number.

Market overview

Market size figures for the treatment of NASH vary quite considerably with figures ranging from $1-$3 billion in 2020 to $5-$20 billion by 2025. The sudden expansion in the size of the market is driven by the assumed FDA approvals for NASH treatments, as illustrated in the cohort group above. However, there are no approved drugs for the treatment of NASH, which is why market estimates are capturing a potential demographic of customers as opposed to definitive financial metrics for drugs that were already approved. 

We base the market size on a number of factors:

1. Addressable patient population

2. Price per treatment

3. Penetration rate into the population

NASH estimates vary, but for the more severe form of NAFLD, we estimate that 1.5%-6.5% of the global population has NASH. Whereas 5.17% of the U.S. population has NASH, according to Hepion, which implies an addressable patient population of 17 million.

With this patient population of 17 million, we’re estimating that 15% of that cohort has Stage 3 or 4 NASH. This implies 2.55 million addressable patients. 

When it pertains to novel drug therapeutics for the treatment of NASH we think treatment costs vary, but we think pricing per treatment/patient at the absolute low-end is above $20,000 with high-end pegging the number at $60,000-$80,000. This is because Intercept’s drug Ocaliva or Obeticholic acid for the treatment of biliary cholangitis has a current list price of $79,000 per patient/per year. 

However, Datamonitor Healthcare expects Ocaliva to have a price between $15,000-$20,000 per patient for the treatment of NASH once more treatments enter the market and exit phase-3 clinical trials. This is because Ocaliva is expected to be the first treatment for NASH to be approved by the FDA. However, other treatments aside from Ocaliva have a higher NASH resolution rate, which is why the treatment would be less competitive as more drugs reach FDA approval, and it’s why the experts surveyed by DataMonitor anticipate lower drug pricing for Ocaliva as other alternatives reach the market. 

To achieve more premium drug pricing/positioning HEPA will need to outpace cohort studies when it pertains to NASH resolution and Fibrosis improvement. When referencing data from the mouse models, the Fibrosis reduction figures range from 37%-82%, with variance in data-driven by differences in diet and dosage. However, the underlying data is extremely promising, and it suggests that HEPA’s CRV431 will reach premium drug pricing similar to Ocaliva upon FDA approval. 

Figure 5. Total Addressable Market Study

Source: Cho Research

The addressable patient population is based on the number of patients who have Stage 3 or Stage 4 NASH. Generally speaking, patients don’t exhibit symptoms until later stages, and then they seek treatment for NASH. As such, we’ve isolated the population figure to those patients with late-stage NASH, and base the aggregate population of individuals with NASH based on internal estimates of the patient population from Hepion.

As such, we estimate the addressable market based on the broadened range of drug pricing to be $38 billion to $83 billion in the United States. Furthermore, the global market will have lower average drug pricing, but with a much larger patient population, which implies a $300 billion – $ 500 billion TAM opportunity. 

Keep in mind, the market opportunity differs from forecasted purchases of drugs that address NASH, so we address the market growth based on saturation of patients who opt into more expensive treatments that are coming out of the clinical pipeline from a number of drugmakers. 

Financial model overview

To be conservative we forecast revenue from FY’27 onwards, which anticipates a 6-year timeframe from when we anticipate Hepion Pharmaceuticals to generate revenue/earnings. We use the low-end the pricing scenario from the Data Monitor report, and anticipate that CRV431 will likely price at $15,000 in the United States and $6,000 internationally per treatment. Given the high number of NASH patients globally and at the pricing we anticipate per treatment we anticipate that even modest market penetration into both the United States and International markets of 1% and 0.5%, respectively will generate $1.9B in sales in FY’27, which is extremely conservative and implies substantial upside even with modest market penetration into the addressable population of late-stage NASH. 

Based on the clinical data, which we discussed earlier in the report, and the difficulty with identifying late-stage NASH patients, we anticipate that even in a more modest scenario where market penetration of 4% in the USA and 2.5% internationally would translate to $9.5B in sales implying significant blockbuster potential assuming Hepion can make it through later clinical stages. 

Figure 6. Financial Model

Source: Cho Research

Furthermore, we anticipate gross margins of 75% and anticipate some prior year operating loss carry forwards to positively impact profitability once the drug is released. We anticipate a lower gross margin figure mainly due to lower pricing given the timing of release for the drug alongside other drug candidates to address NASH patients. Also, on the operating expense side, we anticipate cumulative operating losses of $569M, and that the recently registered mix shelf offering of $350M captures a large percentage of the cumulative costs for the drug platform. 

Keep in mind, we estimate that Hepion’s pro forma balance sheet cash position is somewhere in the ballpark of $100M-$120M or so, which implies that following the $350M cap raise, and the $100M balance sheet, the drugmaker is just shy of our cumulative loss figure, and would perhaps pursue an additional $100M secondary offering, so there will likely be a follow-on cap raise, which is captured in our dil. Share outstanding figure. We don’t anticipate Hepion to raise additional capital following the $350M cap raise until FY’25 or FY’26, which will be the last major injection of liquidity before the drug can be commercialized upon FDA approval. Once the company ramps up sales we anticipate a more modest dilution rate to factor for stock warrants, employee stock options, and etc.

The cost of the drug pipeline will increase, as Hepion Pharmaceuticals will pursue a combination drug treatment with other cancer therapeutics for Hepatocellular Carcinoma or HCC for short, which is a really elegant way of saying liver cancer. We anticipate that following the $350M cap raise that Hepion will expand its drug platform to address HCC, which is an upside scenario that’s not yet factored into our revenue model. 

In terms of our dilution figure, we anticipate that the current share outstanding figure of 76M will increase to 372M dil. Share outstanding from FY’21 to FY’26. Even if the stock price were to hover at $2 per share, and 300M additional shares were sold, the company would raise $600M, which is above our cumulative loss figure of $569M, and addresses the dilution impact on our valuation model. Keep in mind, we model very conservatively and anticipate that the company could surprise both on dilution metrics, and cost metrics as well.

Notwithstanding the heightened dilution rate, we arrive at the conclusion that the stock is still heavily undervalued despite the bearishness tied to the recent shelf-offering, as the drug candidate is highly profitable, and even when addressing a modest percentage of the NASH patient population would translate to substantial sales and earnings. Hence, we model FY’27, FY’28, FY’29, and FY’30 dil. EPS at $4.60, $3.99, $7.46 and $11.66 respectively. Given the potential to file a patent extension, and the limited market adoption scenario, we anticipate that even at the end of the period of the model that the stock will trade at a higher P/E multiple. We anticipate that shareholders will price a longer runway for growth, as a higher percentage of late-stage NASH patients opt for the treatment.

Valuation model overview

Figure 7. Valuation Model

Source: Cho Research

Based on our statistical earnings growth model, we apply a 45x forward earnings multiple, which implies that in 9-years the stock could reach an implicit price target of $524. However, we capture the risks of our assumptions by discounting those assumptions by 70% over the next 9-years, which is why we arrive at a Price Target of $4.42. This implies 176% upside over the next 12-months even when factoring in dilution impact from the mixed-shelf offering and follow-on cap raises.

Our 70% discount rate is also at the high-end of the range to reflect the risks of not progressing further into clinical trial phases. We arrive at this discount rate based on a study that captures the risks of not entering clinical trial phases. 

Figure 8. Risk Model Based on clinical trial

Source: J.A. Dimasi Journal of Medicine (New Estimates of R&D Cost)

Given the expansion of the clinical trial to address HCC along with NASH, the median cost of each clinical trial from Phase 1-3 is appx. $230M. We anticipate CRV431 to address both NASH and HCC, which implies a cumulative cost of $430M, whereas our cumulative operating loss estimate for both drug platforms is $569M. We also combine the percentage risk of phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials to arrive at a 70% risk rate to the drug platform, which is already reflected in our forward earnings discount model. 

So, when captured together we anticipate that the stock has room for upside to appx. $4.50, and with the inclusion of some surprise announcements tied to Fast Track FDA designation or surprise clinical trial data, the stock could perform considerably better than what our 12-month PT implies.

Hepion management team and origin

Dr. Robert Foster, the current CEO of Hepion Pharmaceuticals, founded his first biopharmaceutical company in June of 1993 named Isotechnika Pharma. This was where he discovered the drug Voclosporin. This drug is the only drug that assists in steady remission of lupus nephritis – an autoimmune disease that affects millions and can lead to kidney failure or even death. It was not until 1999 that Isotechnika went public and in 2002 that the company went through a co-development deal with Roche of Basel, Switzerland. A few years later, in 2013, Dr. Foster acquired Aurinia Pharmaceuticals and merged Aurinia into Isotechnika, adopting the new name “Aurinia” (NASDAQ: AUPH). 

After the merger the company focused on lupus nephritis, it was not until January 22, 2021, that the drug Lupkynis, generically known as Voclosporin, was officially approved by the FDA. Dr. Robert Foster left Aurinia in 2014. It was not until June of 2016 that Dr. Robert Foster began his duties for this company, being named Chief Scientific Officer of ContraVir. Before getting the name Hepion Pharmaceuticals, the company was known as ContraVir Pharmaceuticals. ContraVir opened its doors in 2014 and was listed on the stock exchange as (NASDAQ: CTRV). Contravir’s focus at the time was on antiviral research. During Dr. Foster’s early times with the company, Contravir was not in the greatest condition as they were in deep financial distress. It was not until October 2018 that Dr. Foster became CEO of the company. Once Dr. Foster became CEO, he changed the strategic direction of the company. He ceased further research in Hepatitis B with the company’s late-stage asset, TXL (tenofovir prodrug), and turned the focus to Liver Disease and Fibrosis with CRV431. A reverse split of 1-70 was also made in effort to change the market share price. Along with these changes came the new name – Hepion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: HEPA).

Based on Dr. Foster’s track record in pharmaceuticals along with his leadership, he carries a team of experts collectively summing up to 100 years of cyclophilin expertise. John Cavan, Chief Financial Officer, carries over 20 years of financial management experience. Before joining Hepion, Mr. Cavan was a consultant for The Pine Hill Group and the Chief Accounting Officer at Aegerion Pharmaceuticals which achieved a $2 billion market capitalization. He currently holds an M.B.A in Finance and a B.B.A in Accountancy.  

Todd M. Hobbs MD, Chief Medical Officer, carries nearly 20 years of progressive clinical and medical expertise to Hepion. Dr. Hobbs also brings leadership roles from the now $112 billion market cap, Novo Nordisk. Being CMO, Dr. Hobbs engages with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, global and national thought leader, key policymakers, etc. Daren Ure Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, began his work with cyclophilins in 2003 and is still furthering his knowledge on cyclophilins in physiology and disease. 

Following a similar Path to Dr. Foster, Dr. Ure was a research scientist at Isotechnika Pharmaceuticals, who then became the Director of Research and development at Ciclofilin Pharmaceuticals, which, in 2016, was acquired by Hepion. Dr. Ure spent a lot of his early days focusing on the characterization of the drug, Voclosporin, which later helped in the development of cyclosporin A which led to the selection of CRV431. Dr. Ure has a couple of achievements which include playing his part in postdoctoral work at Mayo Clinic for viral immunology and also obtaining his Ph.D. in neurobiology. Daniel J. Trepanier Ph.D., known as Senior Vice President and expert in Drug Development, started his work in cyclophilin in 1996 while also amounting to 22 years of field experience in the pharmaceutical industry. A lot of his knowledge is also on cyclosporine and novel cyclophilin inhibitors. 

One of Dr. Trepanier’s most notable works was his development of Aurinia Pharmaceuticals voclosporin formulation. This formulation has been tested in more than 2,600 patients prior to commercialization. He was also the Director of Drug Development at Ciclofilin Pharmaceuticals and kept this position even during the merger with Hepion Pharmaceuticals in 2016. Dr. Trepanier also holds a Ph.D. in clinical chemistry, an MSc degree in biochemistry, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in analytical chemistry. He is also well known for being the author or co-author of numerous scientific papers. Patrick R. Mayo Ph.D., known for Senior Vice President and his expertise in Clinical Pharmacology, has worked throughout all phases of drug development. Most of his work has been focused on cyclosporine, voclosporin, and also tacrolimus. He also provided population PK modeling and simulation for the Phase 2 cyclophilin study in lupus nephritis at Aurinia Pharmaceuticals. He was also the director of Clinical Pharmacology at Isotechnika on Phase 1 and Phase 3  for voclosporin at Isotechnika in renal transplantation and plaque psoriasis.

Disclosure: Cho Research was not compensated by Hepion Pharmaceuticals to publish “Hepion Pharamceuticals (HEPA) Coverage Starts at $4.50 Price Target” Though Cho Research and its employees may have a position in the stock and it does use the research dollars it
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