BerGenBio Reports Second Quarter 2023 Financial Results

BERGEN, Norway, August 23, 2023 – BerGenBio ASA (OSE: BGBIO), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel, selective AXL kinase inhibitors for severe unmet medical needs, today announced financial results for the second quarter and first half ended June 30, 2023, and provided a business update.

A briefing by BerGenBio's senior management team will take place at 10:45 am CEST today via a webcast presentation, followed by a Q&A session. Please see below for details.


"For the second quarter we are pleased to report the outcomes of our cost-savings efforts and the successful closure of the Rights Issue. In combination this will fund our planned activities into the fourth quarter of 2024 and potentially into the second half of 2025 if all granted warrants at the Rights Issue are exercised. Our highest priority is to progress the ongoing Phase 1b/2a clinical trial in first-line STK11m NSCLC patients (“BGBC016”) where we are working towards enrolling the Phase 1b cohorts and initiate the Ph 2a part. During the second quarter, we obtained a wealth of additional clinical data which further validate the efficacy and tolerability of our lead compound bemcentinib. The data provide us with strong confidence in our focused strategy to study the compound’s potential to treat 1L NSCLC patients harboring STK11 mutations. Further, explorative biomarker data from our BGBC008 trial (2L NSCLC) indicate that bemcentinib in combination with pembrolizumab provides encouraging survival benefits in patients harboring other hard-to-treat mutations such as KRAS and KEAP1. During 2023, we have seen increased awareness for the need for improved treatments for this prevalent patient population with high unmet needs.", said Martin Olin, Chief Executive Officer of BerGenBio.



Clinical Development



BerGenBio’s lead compound, bemcentinib, is a potentially first-in-class, oral, highly selective inhibitor of the receptor tyrosine kinase AXL, which is expressed and activated in response to oxidative stress, inflammation, hypoxia and drug treatment, resulting in several deleterious effects in cancer and severe respiratory infections. Bemcentinib selectively inhibits AXL activation to prevent the progression of serious diseases through the modulation of resistance mechanisms and the adaptive immune system.


Bemcentinib is currently being developed in 1L STK11 mutated NSCLC and severe respiratory infections. Its novel mechanisms of action and primary accumulation in the lungs uniquely position it to address these severe lung diseases.


Oncology: NSCLC



We continue to advance our focused strategy through the conduct of BGBC016, a global, open-label Phase 1b/2a trial designed to determine the safety, tolerability and efficacy of bemcentinib in combination with standard of care treatments in untreated advanced/metastatic non-squamous NSCLC patients with STK11 mutations and no actionable mutations.  Sites in the US have been activated and enrolment is ongoing while expansion into European sites is well underway, with regulatory approval to proceed received from regulatory authorities in the US and several European countries.


The Phase 1b portion of the study is evaluating the safety and feasibility of three different doses of bemcentinib in combination with pembrolizumab and doublet chemotherapy in 1L advanced/metastatic non-squamous NSCLC patients, regardless of STK11 status.   The Phase 2a expansion will assess the safety and efficacy of up to two doses of bemcentinib in the same treatment combination in 1L advanced/metastatic non-squamous NSCLC patients with STK11 mutations.


A significant subgroup comprising of up to 20 % (> 30,000 patients in US and EU5) of 1L non-squamous NSCLC patients harbor STK11 mutations, which are associated with immunosuppression and poor prognosis with standard 1L NSCLC treatment. Data suggests that STK11m NSCLC patients almost universally express AXL in tumors and/or on immune cells, resulting in the development of drug resistance, immune evasion, and metastases.


The data from the BGBC008 (2L+ NSCLC, bemcentinib in combination with pembrolizumab) and BGBIL005 (2L+ NSCLC, bemcentinib in combination with docetaxel) trials provide clinical evidence of the anti-tumor effects of bemcentinib and its ability to modulate the tumor microenvironment to enhance the effects of immunotherapy and chemotherapy. We believe that the reversal of the effects of AXL with bemcentinib holds the promise of providing substantial survival benefits to NSCLC patients and specifically in patients harboring STK11m and potentially other hard-to treat mutations such as KRAS and KEAP1.


2L+ NSCLC Trial (BGBC008)

Additional biomarker analyses of the BGBC008 data in the second quarter yielded promising data which further support the potential for bemcentinib in our on-going 1L STK11m NSCLC trial and may represent an opportunity to further expand the patient population that may benefit from the addition of bemcentinib to their treatment regimens.  The Ph2 BGBC008 trial enrolled 90 evaluable 2L+ NSCLC patients who had received at least one prior line of therapy: chemotherapy, immunotherapy or the combination. 


  • An updated analysis of AXL biomarker status indicates that the presence of AXL expression on either tumor cells and/or immune cells is predictive of improved survival in patients treated with bemcentinib + pembrolizumab. The vast majority (88%) of patients met the criteria for AXL presence (AXL positive patients) and obtained clinically meaningful benefits:
    • Median overall survival was highly statistically significant at p=0.001 in AXL positive vs. AXL negative patients (14.1 mos. vs 6.5 mos). 
    • Median progression free survival was 6.0 mos. in AXL positive patients vs. 5.8 AXL negative patients
  • Analysis of available data for patients treated in a subsequent therapies (3L+) following treatment with bemcentinib + pembrolizumab in 2L identified a higher than expected response rate, potentially pointing to long-lasting immune response benefits.
  • Data from the BGBC008 study also indicate that patients with PD-L1 negative (TPS score <1) benefit from the combination treatment of bemcentinib and pembrolizumab.
  • Currently the PD-L1 negative patient population is not widely treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors potentially providing an opportunity to expand the patient population eligible for treatment.
  • The combination of bemcentinib and pembrolizumab appeared to benefit patients with mutations associated with poor outcome with available therapies, including STK11, KRAS, KEAP-1 and SMARCA4 mutations. These mutational patient populations may represent an incremental opportunity for bemcentinib and will be further assessed in our on-going BGBC016 study in 1L patients.


Oncology: Relapsed/Refractory AML/MDS


In the second quarter, topline results of the Phase 1b/2a BGBC003 multicenter open-label study of bemcentinib as a single agent and in combination with low-dose cytarabine (LDAC) or decitabine in patients with acute myeloid leukemia or as a single agent in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome. 

  • Two cohorts of patients in BGBC003 were treated with bemcentinib as a single agent (monotherapy).  In Cohort B1, in patients with Relapsed/Refractory (R/R) AML, (n=11), bemcentinib provided an ORR of 18.2% and a mOS of 18 months. In Cohort B4, in patients with relapsed/high risk MDS, bemcentinib monotherapy provided an ORR of 18.8% with a mOS of 9.2 months. 


  • Furthermore, bemcentinib in combination with the chemotherapy LDAC appeared to provide substantial mOS benefit to patients with R/R AML (n=27) achieving an ORR of 18.5% and a mOS of 8 months. 


Oncology: Mesothelioma


In the second quarter, topline results of the investigator led BGBIL011/MiST3 mesothelioma trial were presented on June 5, 2023, in an oral presentation at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in an abstract titled: Bemcentinib and pembrolizumab in patients with relapsed mesothelioma: MiST3, a phase IIa trial with cellular and molecular correlates of efficacy. 

Key results include:​

  • 26 patients with relapsed mesothelioma were enrolled in MiST3 and all received at least one dose of bemcentinib and pembrolizumab. 
  • The primary endpoint of disease control rate at 12 weeks (DCR12w) was met: 46.2% (90% CI: 29.2, 63.4).​
  • Secondary endpoints included a disease control rate at 24 weeks (DCR24w) of 38.5% (95% CI: 20.2, 59.4) and an overall response rate of (ORR) of 15.4% (95% CI: 4.4, 34.9). 
  • The combination of bemcentinib and pembrolizumab was generally safe and well-tolerated. 


In totality, the Company is very encouraged by the additional clinical data generated with bemcentinib and reported year-to-date 2023.  Our current activities are focused on 1L NSCLC STK11m patients; however, we believe these additional datasets may expand the potential beyond STK11m NSCLC patients to other hard-to-treat mutations.


Severe Respiratory Infections (SRIs)


The Company believes that bemcentinib blocks viral entry and replication, stimulates the innate immune system, and promotes lung tissue repair positioning it well for the treatment of severe respiratory infections. 

On April 25, 2023, the Company decided to pause the Phase 2b trial evaluating bemcentinib in hospitalized COVID-19 patients until a potential acceleration in hospitalizations warrant further evaluation of bemcentinib in this population.


Bemcentinib is currently being evaluated in preclinical studies for SRIs causing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and initial results are expected during 2023.


Corporate Activities


Rights Offering

On June 13, 2023, the Company completed a rights issue raising gross proceeds of NOK 250m. The proceeds from this offering including any additional proceeds from the exercise of warrants will be dedicated to the conduct of BGBC016 in 1L STK11m NSCLC patients, preclinical studies in severe respiratory infections and for general corporate purposes.


Focused organizational structure aligned with strategy

The Company has taken measures to further reduce its operational costs including a significant reduction in workforce and total compensation to the executive management and the board of directors. This includes a transition of the CSO to a part-time consultancy position. These prudent actions will reduce total operating expenses by at least 30% compared to historic operational expenses when fully implemented.



Second Quarter 2023 Financial Highlights


(Figures in brackets = same period 2022 unless otherwise stated)


  • Revenue was NOK 0 million (NOK 0 million) for the second quarter.
  • Total operating expenses for the second quarter were NOK 47.8 million (NOK 88.2 million).
  • The operating loss for the quarter came to NOK 47.8 million (NOK 88.2 million).
  • Cash and cash equivalents amounted to NOK 226 million by the end of June 2023 (NOK 73.0 million by end of March 2023). This includes the net proceeds from the Rights Issue completed in June 2023.



The Q2 2023 presentation and Financial Report is available at the Company's website. 


Presentation and Webcast Details

The live webcast link is available at in the Investors/Financial Reports section.

A recording will be available shortly after the webcast has finished.







Martin Olin CEO, BerGenBio ASA


Rune Skeie, CFO, BerGenBio ASA


Media Relations


Jan Lilleby

+47 90 55 16 98


About BerGenBio ASA

BerGenBio is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative drugs targeting AXL as a potential cornerstone of therapy for aggressive diseases, including cancer and severe respiratory infections. The Company is focused on its proprietary lead candidate, bemcentinib, a potentially first-in-class selective AXL inhibitor in development for STK11 mutated NSCLC and severe respiratory infections.


BerGenBio is based in Bergen, Norway with a subsidiary in Oxford, UK. The company is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (ticker: BGBIO). For more information, visit


Forward looking statements

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, which as such are not historical facts, but are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions. These assumptions are inherently subject to significant known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other important factors. Such risks, uncertainties, contingencies and other important factors could cause actual events to differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in this announcement by such forward-looking statements.


This information is considered to be inside information pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation and subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.