Immix Biopharma — A step toward delivering a practical CAR-T option

Immix Biopharma (NASDAQ: IMMX)

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Research: Healthcare

Immix Biopharma — A step toward delivering a practical CAR-T option

Immix has announced encouraging updated clinical data for NXC-201, a B cell maturation antigen (BCMA) targeting CAR-T therapy, which is being developed by majority-owned subsidiary Nexcella, in both multiple myeloma (MM) and amyloid light chain amyloidosis (ALA). The updated data for MM patients indicate an overall response rate (ORR) of 95%, notably higher than comparable CAR-T trials for MM, and for ALA show a 100% ORR in heavily pre-treated patients. The therapy has the potential to be the first outpatient CAR-T therapy, which would address many of the current CAR-T challenges with cost and access. With its recent $9.6m raise, we estimate Immix has an operating cash runway into Q424, from Q224 previously. Adjusting for the pro-forma cash of $22.2m, our valuation for Immix increases to $90.7m or $4.2/share (from $81.1m or $5.0/share).

Soo Romanoff

Written by

Soo Romanoff

Managing Director - Head of Content, Healthcare

Healthcare

Immix Biopharma

A step toward delivering a practical CAR-T option

Clinical update

Pharma and biotech

10 October 2023

Price

US$3.87

Market cap

US$76m

Pro forma net cash (US$m) at 30 June 2023 (including US$9.6m fund raise in August)

22.2

Shares in issue

19.7m

Free float

42%

Code

IMMX

Primary exchange

Nasdaq

Secondary exchange

N/A

Share price performance

%

1m

3m

12m

Abs

48.3

72.8

197.7

Rel (local)

52.4

75.3

149.9

52-week high/low

US$4.56

US$0.75

Business description

Immix Biopharma is developing a new class of tissue-specific therapeutics targeting oncology and immune-dysregulated disease. IMX-110 is being investigated in a Phase Ib/IIa study for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma and a Phase Ib/IIa trial for solid tumors in combination with tislelizumab. Immix’s subsidiary Nexcella (94% owned) is developing a CAR-T therapy, NXC-201, which is in the NEXICART-1 study for the treatment of multiple myeloma and AL amyloidosis.

Next events

NEXICART-1 (NXC-201) rolling data

H223

Phase Ib/IIa (IMX-110) rolling data

H223

Analysts

Soo Romanoff

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

Dr Arron Aatkar

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

Nidhi Singh

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

Immix Biopharma is a research client of Edison Investment Research Limited

Immix has announced encouraging updated clinical data for NXC-201, a Bcell maturation antigen (BCMA) targeting CAR-T therapy, which is being developed by majority-owned subsidiary Nexcella, in both multiple myeloma (MM) and amyloid light chain amyloidosis (ALA). The updated data for MM patients indicate an overall response rate (ORR) of 95%, notably higher than comparable CAR-T trials for MM, and for ALA show a 100% ORR in heavily pre-treated patients. The therapy has the potential to be the first outpatient CAR-T therapy, which would address many of the current CAR-T challenges with cost and access. With its recent $9.6m raise, we estimate Immix has an operating cash runway into Q424, from Q224 previously. Adjusting for the pro-forma cash of $22.2m, our valuation for Immix increases to $90.7m or $4.2/share (from $81.1m or $5.0/share).

Year
end

Revenue
(US$m)

PBT*
(US$m)

EPS*
(US$)

DPS
(US$)

P/E
(x)

Yield
(%)

12/21

0.0

(1.31)

(0.36)

0.0

N/A

N/A

12/22

0.0

(7.70)

(0.55)

0.0

N/A

N/A

12/23e

0.0

(12.26)

(0.72)

0.0

N/A

N/A

12/24e

0.0

(15.83)

(0.81)

0.0

N/A

N/A

Note: *PBT and EPS are normalized, excluding amortization of acquired intangibles, exceptional items and share-based payments.

High overall response rates in both MM and ALA

The ongoing NEXICART-1 trial is evaluating the safety and efficacy of NXC-201. Immix has released an update for patients in the trial with relapsed or refractory (r/r) MM, of whom 50 have received the recommended Phase II dose (RP2D) of 800m cells. For these patients, an ORR of 90% was reported, and of those without prior BCMA-targeted therapy (n=38), the ORR was 95%, translating to a median progression-free survival (mPFS) of 12.9 months. In ALA, the latest data show an ORR of 100% in 9/9 patients, with a best responder duration of 19.2 months. These data demonstrate encouraging efficacy, in our view, and we note that management intends to submit a Biologics License Application (BLA) to the FDA for MM once 100 patients have been treated, and for ALA once 40 patients have been treated.

NXC-201 safety profile may offer a competitive edge

Current approved CAR-T therapies have been limited by concerns of neurotoxicity and high-grade cytokine release syndrome (CRS). As a result, current approved CAR-T therapies require long hospital stays (c 14 days) to monitor potential toxicity, and accessibility is limited (with only c 5% of US hospitals able to administer this type of treatment, according to management). However, NXC-201 offers differentiation, with low neurotoxicity of 4% for MM (none for ALA), and low-grade CRS events related to short onsets. We believe this may significantly broaden patient access, providing sizeable commercial opportunity, subject to approval.

Valuation: $90.7m or $4.2 per share

Our valuation for Immix increases to $90.7m, from $81.1m previously, largely due to a higher cash balance due to the $9.6m private placement in August 2023. The increased number of shares outstanding post the fund-raising results in a decline in the per-share valuation to $4.2, compared to $5.0 previously.

Promising rolling data readouts for NXC-201

Multiple myeloma

Immix has released updated data for its lead CAR-T asset, NXC-201, from the ongoing Phase Ib/II NEXICART-1 study (n=72 to date). The clinical update contains data from 63 MM patients, including 13 new patients (since its last update), as well as follow-up data on 50 patients already enrolled. We note that this figure includes all participants in the dose escalation study at all tested doses: 150m cells (n=6), 450m cells (n=7) and 800m cells (n=50); and the ORRs for each of these dose levels were 50%, 86% and 90%, respectively.

For MM, as of the data cut-off point of 17 July 2023 (median follow-up of 11.9 months), for the 50 r/r MM patients at the RP2D of 800m cells, the results were as follows:

Of the patient population without prior BCMA-targeted therapy (PBTT), the ORR was 95% (36/38 patients).

This was associated with an mPFS of 12.9 months (Exhibit 1).

Of the patient population with or without PBTT, the ORR rate was 90% (45/50 patients at the RP2D of 800m cells) (Exhibit 2).

58% showed a complete or stringent complete response (CR or sCR, 29/50).

20% showed a very good partial response (VGPR, 10/50).

12% showed just a partial response (PR, 6/50).

Exhibit 1: PFS data by PBTT status

Exhibit 2: ORR in patients with or without PBTT

Source: Nexcella poster presentation. Note: MRD, measurable residual disease.

Exhibit 1: PFS data by PBTT status

Exhibit 2: ORR in patients with or without PBTT

Source: Nexcella poster presentation. Note: MRD, measurable residual disease.

We believe these data demonstrate that NXC-201 could provide MM patients, especially those who have not been exposed to prior BCMA-targeted therapies, with an important treatment option. While we caution against direct read across between clinical trials (given possible differences in study populations, protocols, centers and other factors), we note that BMS’s Abecma showed an ORR of 73% in the pivotal KarMMa-3 study. We look forward to the next steps in this clinical program, and note that NXC-201 gained Orphan Drug designation (ODD) from the FDA in MM. Immix also recently announced the completion of the second NXC-201 engineering batch at its US CAR-T manufacturing site, offering the potential to expand the ongoing NEXICART-1 trial to clinical trial sites in the US. Management has communicated that it plans to submit a BLA in MM to the FDA once 100 patients have been treated with NXC-201.

Amyloid light chain amyloidosis

Management also announced updated data for the nine ALA patients enrolled, in a separate release. All patients had been heavily pre-treated with J&J’s Darzalex (daratumumab, a monoclonal antibody therapy), and there was a median of six prior lines of therapy that had failed to stop the worsening of disease. As of the data cut-off point of 20 September 2023 (median follow-up of 7.3 months), the results were as follows:

For all nine r/r ALA patients at the RP2D of 800m cells:

ORR was 100% (9/9 patients).

CR rate was 67% (6/9 had MRD 10-5).

Organ response rate was 56% (5/9 patients).

The best duration of response was reported as 19.2 months, and it was noted that the response is ongoing.

Zero cases of immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS).

Zero cases of CRS (>grade 3)

It was noted that 44% (4/9) had MAYO-stage IIIa/IIIb disease, indicating a poorer prognosis, and hence a patient sub-population challenging to treat.

For the seven r/r ALA patients at the RP2D of 800m cells with cardiac involvement:

ORR was 100% (7/7 patients).

CR rate was 57% (4/7 patients had MRD 10-5).

Organ response rate was 57% (4/7 patients).

For the four t(11;14) r/r ALA patients (translocation of chromosomes 11 and 14, found in c 50 of ALA patients) at the RP2D of 800m cells:

ORR was 100% (4/4 patients).

CR rate was 75% (3/4 patients had MRD 10-5).

Organ response rate was 50% (2/4).

(Note: MRD refers to measurable residual disease, in this indicating that the ratio of cancer cells to healthy cells was as low as 10-5:1).

We view these data as a positive clinical development for NXC-201 and note that there are currently no approved drugs for r/r ALA, offering a significant opportunity for Immix, in our view. We note that the FDA has also granted ODD to NXC-201 in ALA. The orphan status in both MM and AA offers the company up to seven years of US market exclusivity in each indication, provided it is successful with regulatory approval. Management plans to submit a BLA in ALA once 40 patients have been treated with the CAR-T therapy.

An important feature of NXC-201 for the treatment of ALA is the apparent ability to rapidly eliminate disease-causing amyloid chains, measured using an ALA disease severity marker (Exhibit 3). These data show clearance within c 30 days after administration of treatment, which management believes could potentially reduce the risk, onset or duration of certain side effects (such as neurotoxicity or CRS), suggesting that NXC-201 may find application in the outpatient setting.

Exhibit 3: Data demonstrating the rapid elimination of amyloid chains by NXC-201

Source: Immix press release. Note: dFLC refers to involved free light chain minus uninvolved free light chain.

As a reminder, NXC-201 is being developed by majority-owned (94%) subsidiary Nexcella. The ongoing NEXICART-1 trial (NCT04720313) is a Phase Ib/II open-label study assessing the safety and efficacy of NXC-201 in adults with r/r MM and ALA. The primary objective of the Phase Ib portion of the clinical trial was to characterize the safety and confirm the RP2D of NXC-201. Dose escalation levels included: 150m cells (n=6), 450m cells (n=7) and 800m cells (dose expansion cohort, n=29); the RP2D was identified as 800m cells and all patients continued into the Phase II portion of the study. The expected primary endpoint of the Phase II portion, which is evaluating the safety and efficacy of NXC-201 at the RP2D, is ORR and duration of response.

Addressing CAR-T neurotoxicity to improve uptake

CAR-T therapies 101

CAR-T therapies harness the natural function of T cells (white blood cells that play an important role in our immune systems). T cells work by detecting foreign materials in the body (such as viruses or cancers). More specifically, they recognize aberrant proteins expressed on the surface of cells (antigens) and trigger an immune response to destroy the targeted cell. However, tumors can prevent this natural process by disguising these surface proteins and suppress the function of certain T cells. CAR-T therapies are developed by genetically engineering the T cells of a patient to span the cell membrane and bind to specific structures at the surface of cancer cells. Once bound, the T cells become activated, initiating the targeted destruction of the cancer cells. For a broader discussion on cell and gene therapies, we direct readers to our Edison themes note on the subject.

An overview of the MM competitive landscape

The current standard of care for MM typically involves a combination of chemotherapy (such as proteasome inhibitors), immunomodulatory agents and steroids, for newly diagnosed patients. In the later-line setting, we are seeing more targeted approaches emerge from the clinic, providing treatment options to address disease relapse. A number of these technologies target BCMA, offering clinical validation for Immix’s approach with NXC-201, in our view (Exhibit 4).

Exhibit 4: Approved BCMA-targeting therapies for MM

Company

Drug

Technology

Global projected 2028 sales (US$)*

J&J

Carvykti

CAR-T therapy

4.0bn

J&J

Tecvayli

Antibody drug conjugate

1.7bn

BMS

Abecma

CAR-T therapy

1.6bn

GSK

Blenrep

Antibody drug conjugate

179m

Source: Edison Investment Research. Note: *According to EvaluatePharma.

However, more generally, we note that currently approved CAR-T therapies are hindered by manufacturing bottlenecks (time and cost), and safety concerns relating to high-grade CRS, an acute inflammatory syndrome associated with CAR-T therapies characterized by fever, organ dysfunction and neurotoxicity. Due to these challenges, CAR-T therapies have limited patient access in the US. According to management, it is estimated that the proportion of US hospitals capable of administering such treatments is as low as 5%, limited to large-sized hospitals in large metropolitan regions. However, the need to increase the number of centers that can administer CAR-T therapies is recognized in the healthcare community, as patients currently have long travel times to access this type of treatment, and have to spend many days at these centers for monitoring. Immix’s management attests that this is where NXC-201 can offer a competitive edge, as potentially the first outpatient CAR-T therapy. This could significantly broaden patient access as it could be made available at more US hospitals or treatment sites, beyond large hospitals in major cities, without the requirement for long-term monitoring after administration (Exhibit 5).

Exhibit 5: Potential for NXC-201 as an outpatient therapy

NXC-201: Potential to be the first outpatient CAR-T therapy

While CAR-T therapies have the potential to provide an effective treatment option against challenging diseases, currently approved CAR-T therapies are not considered outpatient treatments due to the risk of serious side effects. One of the most frequent side effects is CRS, symptoms for which include fever, dizziness due to low blood pressure, and difficulty breathing. As part of our immune systems, the release of cytokines from T cells is a natural process. However, as CAR-T therapies stimulate the immune system to increase cytokine production, CRS is an inherent risk. The other commonly observed side effect is neurotoxicity, characterized by sever confusion, seizure-like activity, and impaired speech. While the precise cause of these neurological side effects has not been fully elucidated, it represents a safety concern associated with this type of treatment, and hence, patients must monitored for at least two weeks after being administered with a CAR-T therapy. The basis for NXC-201 as potentially the first outpatient CAR-T therapy revolves around the reduced risk of neurotoxicity and CRS, as according to the reported data to date, it has a competitive edge when compared to J&J’s Carvykti, and BMS’s Abecma, as well as Arcellx’s CAR-T in clinical development for MM (Exhibit 6).

Exhibit 6: Comparison of NXC-201 to approved CAR-T therapies for MM patients without PBTT

Company

Drug

ORR

CR

ICANS neurotoxicity (all grades)

Potential hospital stay length

Nexcella

NXC-201
(data based on n=25 at the RP2D of 800m cells)

92%

64%

4% (grade 1 and 2)

c 3 days

J&J

Carvykti (n=97)

98%

78%

23%
(including two patient deaths)

c 14 days

BMS

Abecma (n=144)

88%

48%

8.5%

c 14 days

Arcellx

‘CART-ddBCMA’ (n=31 at 300m cells)

100%

71%

23%

c 14 days

Source: Edison Investment Research, Immix investor presentation

NXC-201 has shown significantly low neurotoxicity of 4% in two cases (grade 1 and 2) out of 50 points at 800m cells for MM patients and no patient deaths reported to date, offering a superior safety profile, in our view, compared to alternative treatment options with 9–23% neurotoxicity. Importantly, NXC-201 also has the potential to be associated with short hospital stays of around three days due to this reduced risk of safety concerns, in contrast to c 14 days for currently approved CAR-T therapies. This advantage is also driven by comparatively more manageable cases of CRS, attributed to the treatment’s rapid mechanism of action (Exhibit 7). In contrast to approved CAR-T therapies for MM, for NXC-201 there have been no high-grade (>grade 3) cases of CRS, and where lower grade CRS events have occurred, this has been associated with fast onsets, meaning that the side effect may be treated more promptly, still mitigating the requirement for long hospital stays, offering outpatient potential. While we caution direct read across, key benefits of NXC-201 (according to data compiled by management) include:

For NXC-201, a maximum CRS duration of 7 days has been observed, whereas approved CAR-T therapies for MM have CRS durations of up to 63 days.

NXC-201 has reported low neurotoxicity of 4%, whereas approved CAR-T therapies for MM have been associated with up to 578 days of neurotoxicity.

BCMA tumor marker levels in the blood are reduced in c 30 days for NXC-201, whereas approved CAR-T therapies for MM show BCMA reduction at c 60–155 days.

For NXC-201, CAR-T cells have been found to exit the body after BCMA is reduced, whereas approved CAR-Ts show that levels of CAR-T cells remain elevated, and this may be the reason for prolonged durations of CRS and neurotoxicity.

Exhibit 7: Rapid action of NXC-201 drives improved tolerability

Financials and valuation

Based on Q223 results, our operating expenses estimates for FY23 and FY24 were adjusted in our prior note. However, our long-term assumptions for the company remained unchanged. We note that Immix raised $10m ($9.55m in net proceeds) through a private placement (August 2023) by issuing 3,241,076 shares at an issue price of $1.94 per share. Additionally, these shares were accompanied by 1,913,661 pre-funded warrants at an exercise price of $0.0001/share lower than the purchase price ($1.94) of newly issued shares. We have incorporated the raised cash into our FY23 estimates and, due to the increased number of shares outstanding, our adjusted EPS loss estimates for FY23 and FY24 are now $0.72 and $0.81, versus $0.84 and $0.97 previously in the respective periods.

As we update our net cash balance for the recent $9.55m fund raise through a private placement in August 2023, our valuation has increased to $90.7m, from $81.1m previously. However, our per-share valuation has decreased to $4.2 per share, compared to $5.0 per share previously, reflecting the higher number of shares outstanding at 21.4m (versus 16.3m earlier) due to newly issued shares as part of recent fund raise and assuming full conversion of the 1.9m prefunded warrants issued in August 2023. Based on our cash burn projections for FY23 and FY24, our estimated operating cash runway for the company extends into Q424 (Q224 previously). Based on its current funding status, we project that Immix will need to raise a further $10m ($20m previously) before end-FY24 prior to the projected global licensing deal in FY25. This $10m fund requirement has been accounted for as illustrative debt in our model. Alternatively, if the funding is instead realized through an equity issue (assumed at the current trading price of $3.87/share), Immix would have to issue 2.8m shares, resulting in our per-share valuation decreasing to $4.1 from $4.2 currently (the number of shares outstanding would increase from 21.4m to 24.3m).

Exhibit 8: Immix Biopharma rNPV

Product

Indication

Launch

Peak

Peak sales (US$m)

Value (US$m)

Probability

rNPV (US$m)

rNPV/share (US$)

IMX-110

STS

2028

2033

455.1

191.5

15.0%

29.7

1.4

IMX-110

Solid tumors

2029

2035

474.5

185.2

10.0%

12.6

0.6

NXC-201

Multiple myeloma

2030

2035

246.0*

134.6**

17.5%

18.9

0.9

NXC-201

AL amyloidosis

2030

2035

143.7

76.5**

17.5%

7.2

0.3

Pro-forma net cash on 30 June 2023 (incl $9.6m fund raise in August)

 

 

 

22.2

100%

22.2

1.04

Valuation

 

 

 

 

610.0

 

90.7

4.2

Source: Edison Investment Research. Note: *Assumed licensing milestone payment value and overall deal value higher for NXC-201 than IMX-110. We have modelled a deal value of $210m for IMX-110 versus $450m for NXC-201. **Weighted by Immix’s 94% ownership of the asset in Nexcella.

Exhibit 9: Financial summary

Accounts: IFRS, Yr end: December 31, USD:000s

 

2021

2022

2023e

2024e

PROFIT & LOSS

 

 

 

 

 

Total revenues

 

0

0

0

0

Cost of sales

 

0

0

0

0

Gross profit

 

0

0

0

0

Total operating expenses

 

(1,352)

(8,219)

(12,660)

(16,225)

Research and development expenses

 

(127)

(4,196)

(6,933)

(9,783)

SG&A

 

(1,225)

(4,023)

(5,728)

(6,442)

EBITDA (normalized)

 

(1,350)

(8,217)

(12,659)

(16,223)

Operating income (reported)

 

(1,352)

(8,219)

(12,660)

(16,225)

Finance income/(expense)

 

(180)

(0)

0

0

Exceptionals and adjustments

 

(22,846)

0

0

0

Profit before tax (reported)

 

(24,378)

(8,219)

(12,660)

(16,225)

Profit before tax (normalised)

 

(1,313)

(7,695)

(12,260)

(15,825)

Income tax expense (includes exceptionals)

 

(6)

(10)

(14)

(18)

Net income (reported)

 

(24,384)

(8,230)

(12,675)

(16,244)

Net income (normalised)

 

(1,319)

(7,706)

(12,275)

(15,844)

Basic average number of shares, m

 

3.7

13.9

17.2

19.5

Basic EPS (US$)

 

(6.64)

(0.59)

(0.74)

(0.83)

Adjusted EPS (US$)

 

(0.36)

(0.55)

(0.72)

(0.81)

Dividend per share (US$)

 

0.00

0.00

0.00

0.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

BALANCE SHEET

 

 

 

 

 

Property, plant and equipment

 

6

4

4

4

Other non current assets

 

0

7

183

183

Total non-current assets

 

6

10

186

187

Cash and equivalents

 

17,644

13,437

16,655

10,811

Current tax receivables

 

26

256

297

297

Trade and other receivables

 

0

0

2

3

Other current assets

 

516

1,205

1,205

1,205

Total current assets

 

18,186

14,898

18,159

12,316

Non-current loans and borrowings

 

0

0

0

0

Non-current lease liabilities

 

0

0

0

0

Other non-current liabilities

 

0

475

0

0

Illustrative debt

 

0

0

0

10,000

Total non-current liabilities

 

0

475

0

10,000

Accounts payable

 

143

1,273

2,396

2,396

Current lease obligations

 

0

0

2

3

Other current liabilities

 

59

0

0

0

Total current liabilities

 

202

1,273

2,398

2,399

Equity attributable to company

 

17,990

13,160

15,948

104

 

 

0

0

0

0

CASH FLOW STATEMENT

 

 

 

 

 

Net Income

 

(24,384)

(8,230)

(12,675)

(16,244)

Depreciation and amortisation

 

2

2

2

2

Share based payments

 

219

524

400

400

Other adjustments

 

22,964

100

0

0

Movements in working capital

 

(391)

195

1,081

0

Cash from operations (CFO)

 

(1,589)

(7,408)

(11,192)

(15,842)

Capex

 

(1)

0

(2)

(2)

Acquisitions & disposals net

 

0

0

0

0

Other investing activities

 

0

0

0

0

Cash used in investing activities (CFIA)

 

(1)

0

(2)

(2)

Capital changes

 

18,849

2,914

14,413

0

Debt Changes

 

0

0

0

10,000

Other financing activities

 

0

318

(1)

10,000

Cash from financing activities (CFF)

 

18,849

3,232

14,412

20,000

Cash and equivalents at beginning of period

 

391

17,644

13,437

16,655

Increase/(decrease) in cash and equivalents

 

17,259

(4,176)

3,218

4,156

Effect of FX on cash and equivalents

 

(5)

(32)

0

0

Cash and equivalents at end of period

 

17,644

13,437

16,655

20,811

Net (debt)/cash

 

17,644

13,437

16,655

811

Source: Company reports, Edison Investment Research


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Edison Investment Research Pty Ltd (Edison AU) is the Australian subsidiary of Edison. Edison AU is a Corporate Authorised Representative (1252501) of Crown Wealth Group Pty Ltd who holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (Number: 494274). This research is issued in Australia by Edison AU and any access to it, is intended only for "wholesale clients" within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 of Australia. Any advice given by Edison AU is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances, needs or objectives. You should, before acting on this advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If our advice relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular financial product you should read any relevant Product Disclosure Statement or like instrument.

New Zealand

The research in this document is intended for New Zealand resident professional financial advisers or brokers (for use in their roles as financial advisers or brokers) and habitual investors who are “wholesale clients” for the purpose of the Financial Advisers Act 2008 (FAA) (as described in sections 5(c) (1)(a), (b) and (c) of the FAA). This is not a solicitation or inducement to buy, sell, subscribe, or underwrite any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. For the purpose of the FAA, the content of this report is of a general nature, is intended as a source of general information only and is not intended to constitute a recommendation or opinion in relation to acquiring or disposing (including refraining from acquiring or disposing) of securities. The distribution of this document is not a “personalised service” and, to the extent that it contains any financial advice, is intended only as a “class service” provided by Edison within the meaning of the FAA (i.e. without taking into account the particular financial situation or goals of any person). As such, it should not be relied upon in making an investment decision.

United Kingdom

This document is prepared and provided by Edison for information purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation for investment in any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. A marketing communication under FCA Rules, this document has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

This Communication is being distributed in the United Kingdom and is directed only at (i) persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments, i.e. investment professionals within the meaning of Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005, as amended (the "FPO") (ii) high net-worth companies, unincorporated associations or other bodies within the meaning of Article 49 of the FPO and (iii) persons to whom it is otherwise lawful to distribute it. The investment or investment activity to which this document relates is available only to such persons. It is not intended that this document be distributed or passed on, directly or indirectly, to any other class of persons and in any event and under no circumstances should persons of any other description rely on or act upon the contents of this document.

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United States

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20 Red Lion Street

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United Kingdom

London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

London, WC1R 4PS

United Kingdom

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Copyright: Copyright 2023 Edison Investment Research Limited (Edison).

Australia

Edison Investment Research Pty Ltd (Edison AU) is the Australian subsidiary of Edison. Edison AU is a Corporate Authorised Representative (1252501) of Crown Wealth Group Pty Ltd who holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (Number: 494274). This research is issued in Australia by Edison AU and any access to it, is intended only for "wholesale clients" within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 of Australia. Any advice given by Edison AU is general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances, needs or objectives. You should, before acting on this advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If our advice relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular financial product you should read any relevant Product Disclosure Statement or like instrument.

New Zealand

The research in this document is intended for New Zealand resident professional financial advisers or brokers (for use in their roles as financial advisers or brokers) and habitual investors who are “wholesale clients” for the purpose of the Financial Advisers Act 2008 (FAA) (as described in sections 5(c) (1)(a), (b) and (c) of the FAA). This is not a solicitation or inducement to buy, sell, subscribe, or underwrite any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. For the purpose of the FAA, the content of this report is of a general nature, is intended as a source of general information only and is not intended to constitute a recommendation or opinion in relation to acquiring or disposing (including refraining from acquiring or disposing) of securities. The distribution of this document is not a “personalised service” and, to the extent that it contains any financial advice, is intended only as a “class service” provided by Edison within the meaning of the FAA (i.e. without taking into account the particular financial situation or goals of any person). As such, it should not be relied upon in making an investment decision.

United Kingdom

This document is prepared and provided by Edison for information purposes only and should not be construed as an offer or solicitation for investment in any securities mentioned or in the topic of this document. A marketing communication under FCA Rules, this document has not been prepared in accordance with the legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is not subject to any prohibition on dealing ahead of the dissemination of investment research.

This Communication is being distributed in the United Kingdom and is directed only at (i) persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments, i.e. investment professionals within the meaning of Article 19(5) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005, as amended (the "FPO") (ii) high net-worth companies, unincorporated associations or other bodies within the meaning of Article 49 of the FPO and (iii) persons to whom it is otherwise lawful to distribute it. The investment or investment activity to which this document relates is available only to such persons. It is not intended that this document be distributed or passed on, directly or indirectly, to any other class of persons and in any event and under no circumstances should persons of any other description rely on or act upon the contents of this document.

This Communication is being supplied to you solely for your information and may not be reproduced by, further distributed to or published in whole or in part by, any other person.

United States

Edison relies upon the "publishers' exclusion" from the definition of investment adviser under Section 202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and corresponding state securities laws. This report is a bona fide publication of general and regular circulation offering impersonal investment-related advice, not tailored to a specific investment portfolio or the needs of current and/or prospective subscribers. As such, Edison does not offer or provide personal advice and the research provided is for informational purposes only. No mention of a particular security in this report constitutes a recommendation to buy, sell or hold that or any security, or that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person.

London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

London, WC1R 4PS

United Kingdom

London │ New York │ Frankfurt

20 Red Lion Street

London, WC1R 4PS

United Kingdom

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The Merchants Trust (MRCH) has been managed by Simon Gergel at Allianz Global Investors for the last 17 years. He describes the valuation backdrop in the UK market as ‘a stock picker’s dream’, as in aggregate, UK stocks are trading at the low end of their 20-year range, and company valuations vary significantly, thereby affording the manager opportunities to identify reasonably priced businesses that have strong fundamentals and are operating in industries with favourable dynamics. Gergel’s strategy has proved successful as MRCH is comfortably ahead of its benchmark over the last three, five and 10 years. Growing income is an important feature of the trust, and it has paid higher dividends for the last 41 consecutive years. Reflecting the board’s confidence that this trend can continue, MRCH’s first two FY24 interim dividends are 3.6% higher year-on-year, which is an acceleration in growth versus FY23, when the annual dividend was a more modest 1.1% above the level paid in FY22.

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