AFT Pharmaceuticals — Judgment clears AFT of lump sum payment claim

AFT Pharmaceuticals (ASX: AFT)

Last close As at 04/03/2024

NZD3.24

−0.02 (−0.61%)

Market capitalisation

NZD341m

More on this equity

Research: Healthcare

AFT Pharmaceuticals — Judgment clears AFT of lump sum payment claim

AFT Pharmaceuticals has reported that the Auckland High Court has cleared it of certain contractual breach claims filed by PBL Solutions in April 2020, with the court maintaining that the opportunity for Pascomer (a topical formulation of rapamycin) in non-orphan indications was not under the scope of AFT Orphan Pharmaceuticals’ (AFTO’s) business in its legal case. While the ruling dismissed PBL’s claim for a lump sum payment for the assessed present value of Pascomer’s potential, the legal authority has directed AFT to share 35% of the potential (future) profits, which may arise in orphan or orphan-like indications in as well as outside Asia-Pacific. We note that AFT is pursuing Pascomer in non-orphan indications such as port-wine stains and is in the very early stages of development, hence the ruling does not have a near- to medium-term impact on AFT. Our valuation at NZ$644m, or NZ$6.14 per share, and estimates for AFT are unchanged.

Soo Romanoff

Written by

Soo Romanoff

Managing Director - Head of Content, Healthcare

Healthcare

AFT Pharmaceuticals

Judgment clears AFT of lump sum payment claim

Regulatory update

Pharma and biotech

31 August 2023

Price

NZ$3.55

Market cap

NZ$373m

NZ$0.63/US$

Net debt (NZ$m) at 31 March 2023

29.9

Shares in issue

104.9m

Free float

26.8%

Code

AFT

Primary exchange

NZX

Secondary exchange

ASX

Share price performance

Business description

AFT Pharmaceuticals is a specialty pharmaceutical company that operates primarily in Australasia but has product distribution agreements across the globe. The company’s product portfolio includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs to treat a range of conditions and a proprietary nebuliser.

Analysts

Nidhi Singh

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

Soo Romanoff

+44 (0)20 3077 5700

AFT Pharmaceuticals is a research client of Edison Investment Research Limited

AFT Pharmaceuticals has reported that the Auckland High Court has cleared it of certain contractual breach claims filed by PBL Solutions in April 2020, with the court maintaining that the opportunity for Pascomer (a topical formulation of rapamycin) in non-orphan indications was not under the scope of AFT Orphan Pharmaceuticals’ (AFTO’s) business in its legal case. While the ruling dismissed PBL’s claim for a lump sum payment for the assessed present value of Pascomer’s potential, the legal authority has directed AFT to share 35% of the potential (future) profits, which may arise in orphan or orphan-like indications in as well as outside Asia-Pacific. We note that AFT is pursuing Pascomer in non-orphan indications such as port-wine stains and is in the very early stages of development, hence the ruling does not have a near- to medium-term impact on AFT. Our valuation at NZ$644m, or NZ$6.14 per share, and estimates for AFT are unchanged.

Year end

Revenue (NZ$m)

PBT*
(NZ$m)

EPS*
(c)

DPS
(c)

P/E
(x)

Yield
(%)

03/22

130.3

18.9

19.2

0.0

18.5

N/A

03/23

156.6

16.7

11.0

1.10

32.2

0.3

03/24e

184.0

21.7

15.2

1.43

23.4

0.4

03/25e

214.0

39.2

27.3

2.64

13.0

0.7

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

As a reminder, AFT Pharmaceuticals holds a 65% stake in its subsidiary, AFTO, with the rest (35%) held by PBL Solutions. The legal case is related to PBL’s claim that AFTO should have been allowed to pursue the Pascomer opportunity as a topical skin medicine and that AFT and Hartley Atkinson (CEO, AFT Pharmaceuticals) had breached contractual obligations by developing the Pascomer formulation. Further to this, PBL was seeking a lump sum payment, associated with an estimated present value of its 35% share in potential profits from the Pascomer opportunity. While the High Court ruling has dismissed certain of PBL’s contractual breach claims, including the claim for a lump sum payment, others were upheld. Most notably, the court supported the claim that AFT owes PBL a fiduciary duty related to Pascomer’s future prospects, which entitles PBL to a 35% share of any future profits, if realised, from the commercialisation of Pascomer in orphan or orphan-like conditions, in as well as outside the Asia-Pacific region. Although the decision is slightly disappointing for AFT, it does not obligate the company to incur any expense in the near-to-medium term.

Following the failure of its Phase II clinical trial for Pascomer to meet the primary endpoint in facial angiofibromas in July 2022, AFT is developing Pascomer in the treatment of a non-orphan condition, port-wine stains. It is currently in the very early stages of development and expects the ongoing pilot study to conclude in CY23. We note that the company has not yet realised any profit from the formulation and future opportunities are subject to regulatory approvals.

In addition, AFT believes that the latest ruling will not have any material impact on its FY24 operating profit guidance of NZ$22–24m. We believe that management’s stated revenue target of NZ$200m is achievable in FY25.

General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by AFT Pharmaceuticals and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by AFT Pharmaceuticals. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £60,000 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

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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.

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

General disclaimer and copyright

This report has been commissioned by AFT Pharmaceuticals and prepared and issued by Edison, in consideration of a fee payable by AFT Pharmaceuticals. Edison Investment Research standard fees are £60,000 pa for the production and broad dissemination of a detailed note (Outlook) following by regular (typically quarterly) update notes. Fees are paid upfront in cash without recourse. Edison may seek additional fees for the provision of roadshows and related IR services for the client but does not get remunerated for any investment banking services. We never take payment in stock, options or warrants for any of our services.

Accuracy of content: All information used in the publication of this report has been compiled from publicly available sources that are believed to be reliable, however we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report and have not sought for this information to be independently verified. Opinions contained in this report represent those of the research department of Edison at the time of publication. Forward-looking information or statements in this report contain information that is based on assumptions, forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable, and therefore involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of their subject matter to be materially different from current expectations.

Exclusion of Liability: To the fullest extent allowed by law, Edison shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential losses, loss of profits, damages, costs or expenses incurred or suffered by you arising out or in connection with the access to, use of or reliance on any information contained on this note.

No personalised advice: The information that we provide should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as, personalised advice. Also, the information provided by us should not be construed by any subscriber or prospective subscriber as Edison’s solicitation to effect, or attempt to effect, any transaction in a security. The securities described in the report may not be eligible for sale in all jurisdictions or to certain categories of investors.

Investment in securities mentioned: Edison has a restrictive policy relating to personal dealing and conflicts of interest. Edison Group does not conduct any investment business and, accordingly, does not itself hold any positions in the securities mentioned in this report. However, the respective directors, officers, employees and contractors of Edison may have a position in any or related securities mentioned in this report, subject to Edison's policies on personal dealing and conflicts of interest.

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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