Will Cash Derail Kura Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: KURA)’s Progress?


At the release of its 2Q2016 results, Kura Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: KURA) excited investors when it said that one of its cancer drug candidates is showing encouraging results in a Phase 2 trial.

The drug candidate is called tipifarnib and it is being tried in patients afflicted by HRAS mutant solid tumors. Kura Oncology Inc (NASDAQ:KURA) is on a mission to find out the therapeutic potential of tipifarnib in combating HRAS.

Kura’s CEO Troy Wilson said that so far the activity that they have observed with tipifarnib treatment is encouraging. With that, the team is gearing up for the second stage of the trial. Tipifarnib is being tested in two cohorts that comprise 11 patients each.

No approved treatments

The market opportunity for Kura Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: KURA)’s tipifarnib is also exciting considering that currently there are no treatments approved to specifically targeted HRAS mutations. As such, if tipifarnib proves to be successful in the trials and launches on the market, demand for it is likely to be strong.

Is there cash to fund the development?

But how far can Kura Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: KURA) go with development of tipifarnib? That is something that is in the mind of many investors considering that Kura doesn’t currently generate revenue.

But the management doesn’t look worried about Kura’s cash position. The company reported that its cash and short-term investments were $80.1 million at the end of the latest quarter. That was down slightly from $85.7 million in the prior quarter. But the management insists that despite the dip, the available cash should be adequate to fund operations into 2018.

That assurance should remove any doubts that investors may have had about the future of tipifarnib and Kura Oncology Inc (NASDAQ:KURA)’s other R&D programs.

2Q2016 highlight

Kura posted EPS loss of $0.36 in 2Q2016, narrower than $0.54 a year ago and better than the consensus estimate of $0.38. The company said its R&D programs consumed $4.9 million in the latest quarter compared to $4.4 million a year ago. General and administrative expenses also rose to $1.9 million from $1.5 million a year earlier.

Loan facility – Kura Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: KURA)

During 2Q2016, Kura Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: KURA) managed to secure a $20 million term loan, out of which it has drawn $7.5 million.


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