Sign Up NowThis Month's Tiny Gems - September 2015

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (AVXL)
Digital Power Corp. (DPW)
Erin Energy Corp. (ERN)
Matinas BioPharma Holdings, Inc. (MTNB)




Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (AVXL)


Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (AVXL) is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of novel drug candidates to treat central nervous system diseases and various types of cancer. The company's lead drug candidate, ANAVEX 2-73, is currently being studied in a phase IIa clinical trial for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. In preclinical studies, Anavex's groundbreaking candidate demonstrated the potential to halt and reverse the course of this life-threatening condition. Additionally, the company was recently awarded a research grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research to begin development of ANAVEX 2-73 for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.


"We are pleased with our progress to date," Christopher U. Missling, president and chief executive officer of Anavex, stated in a news release. "Our phase IIa clinical trial of ANAVEX 2-73 for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease is progressing on schedule, with PART A expected to be completed by the end of the year."


The company is also studying the effectiveness of ANAVEX 2-73 in combination with donepezil or AriceptĀ®. In clinical tests, the drug combination, which is referred to as ANAVEX PLUS, produced up to 80 percent greater reversal of memory loss in Alzheimer's disease models than when the drugs were used individually. Since donepezil is already on the market and recording global sales of $4 billion annually, ANAVEX PLUS is believed to be a compelling commercial opportunity for the company. Anavex has already filed a patent application for ANAVEX PLUS that, if granted, will provide protection for the promising drug combination until at least 2033.


Through the development of ANAVEX 2-73 and ANAVEX PLUS, Anavex is addressing a collection of indications with significant unmet medical need. In the case of Alzheimer's, the Alzheimer's Association reports that the disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, as well as the only cause of death in the top 10 that can't currently be prevented, cured or slowed. Likewise, as many as one million Americans live with Parkinson's disease, leading to a combined cost of approximately $25 billion per year in the United States alone, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.


As of June 30, Anavex reported approximately $8 million in cash and cash equivalents, which it estimates to be sufficient for the next two years of ongoing operations and the advancement of clinical trial work. This strong cash position, in combination with its promising development pipeline, makes Anavex a highly intriguing investment opportunity moving forward. Look for the company to build on its recent progress as it continues toward the completion of its ongoing phase IIa clinical trial in the months to come.




Digital Power Corp. (DPW)


Digital Power Corp. (DPW) designs, develops, manufactures and sells high-grade customized and off-the-shelf power system solutions for the most demanding applications in the medical, military, telecom and industrial markets. In July, the company unveiled its newest family of products, which features a series of advanced, high-efficiency capacitor chargers specially designed for powering laser systems in medical and industrial applications. Through this release, DPW demonstrated its ongoing commitment to innovation in the development of best-in-class power solutions for a broad range of industries and challenging environments.


In recent months, DPW has built on this progress through efforts to further develop its product line offerings and geographical sales coverage. Despite recording a slight year-over-year decrease in revenues during the second quarter of 2015, increases in profitable defense-related shipments from its European operations throughout the first half of the year and continued expansion of its sales and marketing efforts could foreshadow an opportunity for the company to achieve considerable financial growth in the months to come.


"We continue to pursue our strategic plan of developing complete customized power solutions and enhancing our standard product portfolio with innovative, high density and efficient power supplies at ever increasing power levels," Amos Kohn, president and chief executive officer of DPW, stated in a news release. "The focus on a complete solution for power applications is well received by our major telecom, medical, military and industrial customers."


In June, the company provided prospective shareholders with a glimpse of the immense market potential of its product portfolio when it announced the execution of a 12-month, $1.2 million agreement to supply an industry-leading medical OEM with a universal power source solution for use in its portable oxygen concentrators. The customer selected DPW as a result of the company's proven record of providing high quality, reliable power solutions to the medical industry. Moving forward, this agreement is expected to further strengthen DPW's established position within the medical OEM marketplace.


Since being founded in 1969, DPW has grown into one of the most recognizable brands in the diversified electronics industry. With a healthy cash balance, an experienced management team and a portfolio of cutting-edge power system solutions, the company is in a strong strategic position to build upon this industry presence.




Erin Energy Corp. (ERN)


Erin Energy Corp. (ERN) is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company focused on energy resources in sub-Saharan Africa. The company's asset portfolio includes nine licenses across four countries covering an area of approximately 16,600 square miles, including current production and exploration projects offshore Nigeria, as well as exploration licenses offshore Ghana and the Gambia and both offshore and onshore Kenya. By expertly managing its investments and on-going operations, Erin Energy is able to combat current market conditions by limiting capital exposure while maintaining economic efficiency in its operations and maximizing investment value.


In recent months, the company has made tremendous progress in advancing its exploration and development programs. On its project in Nigeria, Erin Energy successfully tied in two wells, Oyo-7 and Oyo-8, in the Oyo field. This achievement preceded the commencement of production in May. In total, the two wells accounted for production of more than 450,000 barrels of oil in the second quarter of 2015, giving the company considerable momentum as it looks to increase its production capacity moving forward.


"Bringing the Oyo-7 and Oyo-8 wells on production were significant milestones in the company's history," Kase Lawal, chairman and chief executive officer of Erin Energy, stated in a news release. "Growth is at the center of Erin Energy and this achievement is just the beginning for us."


The company's recent progress in the development of its Nigeria asset has been accompanied by equally noteworthy progress on other assets in its portfolio. On August 21, Erin Energy announced that it had received approval from the government of Kenya to enter the first additional exploration period on its onshore blocks, L1B and L16. According to the terms of this approval, the company will be required to acquire, process and interpret approximately 116 square miles of 3D seismic data and drill one exploration well on each block within the next two years.


"We are very pleased to begin the next phase of exploration in Kenya," continued Lawal. "Our team is greatly encouraged by the results of our exploration efforts thus far, and excited by the significant hydrocarbon potential we see on the blocks."


Since the start of oil production, the company's wells have consistently outperformed pre-drill projections. As of August 1, the combined production rate of Oyo-7 and Oyo-8 was approximately 13,100 barrels of oil per day, giving Erin Energy a strong channel with which to generate revenue while continuing to expand its operations. Look for the company to build on these strong results as it progresses exploration efforts across its sizable asset portfolio.




Matinas BioPharma Holdings, Inc. (MTNB)


Matinas BioPharma Holdings, Inc. (MTNB) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of safe and effective broad spectrum antifungal and anti-bacterial therapeutics for the treatment of serious and life-threatening infections. The company's proprietary, disruptive technology utilizes lipid-crystal nano-particle cochleate to nano-encapsulate existing drugs, making them safer, more tolerable, less toxic and orally available. Matinas's lead drug candidate, MAT2203, is an orally administered, encochleated formulation of amphotericin B, an antifungal drug currently used intravenously to treat a variety of fungal infections.


Last month, Matinas took a significant step in the development of MAT2203 when it announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had designated the candidate as a qualified infectious disease product (QIDP) with fast track status. These designations make the candidate eligible for priority review and expedited development processes in the future, as well as providing up to five years of additional marketing exclusivity following FDA approval.


In a phase IA clinical study, MAT2203 demonstrated a positive safety and tolerability profile with no serious or dose-related adverse events reported. In collaboration with the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the company plans to commence a phase IIA clinical study of MAT2203 in patients with refractory mucocutaneous candidiasis in the coming weeks.


"While the antifungal amphotericin B has demonstrated little or no resistance in clinical practice, it currently has limited treatment use in fungal infections due to severe toxicity issues," Roelof Rongen, president and chief executive officer of Matinas, stated in a news release. "We believe MAT2203 has the potential to bring a much needed effective, broad-spectrum and significantly less toxic antifungal to at-risk patients with invasive and resistant fungal infections."


In addition to MAT2203, Matinas's development pipeline includes MAT2501, an orally-administered formulation of amikacin currently being developed for the treatment of gram-negative and intracellular bacterial infections; and MAT9001, a prescription-only omega-3 fatty acid-based composition being developed for the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia.


Through the utilization of its proprietary lipid-crystal nano-particle cochleate formulation technology, Matinas is in a favorable strategic position to become a leader in the safe and effective delivery of anti-infective therapies. Look for the company to continue leaning on the cumulative multi-decade pharmaceutical development and commercialization experience of its management team in order to make continued strides toward the commercialization of its promising developmental candidates.