Shield Therapeutics (STX) is a commercial-stage company delivering specialty products that address patients’ unmet medical needs, with an initial focus on treating iron deficiency (ID) with ferric maltol. Feraccru/Accrufer has achieved regulatory approvals for both Europe and the US. The company has faced some unexpected challenges recently, but has not been overly affected by COVID-19. Having negotiated a good deal for the Chinese market, STX is seeing significant interest with respect to a US commercial partner, bringing the opportunity to launch into a >$1bn market. The cash runway for STX extends into 1Q’21.

  • Strategy: STX’s strategy is to out-license the commercial rights to its products to partners with marketing and distribution expertise in target markets. These deals allow STX to retain its intellectual property (IP) and to keep investing in its R&D pipeline, while benefiting from immediate and long-term value.
  • Trading: To date, STX has not been affected materially by COVID-19. Its suppliers are all continuing to manufacture, and distribution of drugs is unaffected. Partner, Norgine, has seen sales growth in 1Q’20 and Feraccru represents an alternative for patients who cannot get to hospital for IV iron.
  • US licensing deal: Although stepping down, the founder and former CEO has agreed to support the licensing process in the US so that the current positive momentum is not lost. We understand that there is a strong shortlist of potential partners.
  • Risks: All drug companies carry development risk, but STX’s has been limited by regulatory approvals in the EU and the US. There is some risk in Europe from a Teva patent challenge due to be heard in June. The main risk is achieving an appropriate US partnering deal and executing on commercialisation strategy.
  • Investment summary: The shares have started to recover from some unexpected news from the company. A good trading update, a period of stabilisation, and any announcement of a US licensing deal are likely to accelerate this recovery. Feraccru provides a good option to physicians seeking alternative therapies for iron-deficient patients reluctant to attend hospitals/ clinics for intravenous (IV) iron therapy due to the risk of contracting COVID-19.


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