Conatus Pharmaceuticals' (CNAT) CEO Steven Mento on Q2 2014 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Aug.13.14 | About: Conatus Pharmaceuticals (CNAT)

Conatus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:CNAT)

Q2 2014 Results Earnings Conference Call

August 13, 2014, 04:30 p.m. ET

Executives

Alan Engbring – Executive Director, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications

Steven Mento – President and Chief Executive Officer

Charles Cashion – Senior Vice President, Finance, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary

Analysts

Charles Duncan – Piper Jaffray

Stephen Willey – Stifel

Ed Arce – ROTH Capital Partners

Bert Hazlett – Ladenburg

Operator

Welcome to the Conatus Pharmaceuticals Financial Results Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. This call is being webcast live on the Investor Center of the Conatus website at conatuspharma.com. This call is property of Conatus Pharmaceuticals and recordings, reproductions or transmissions of this call without the express written consent of Conatus is strictly prohibited. As a reminder, today's call is being recorded.

I would now like to introduce Alan Engbring, Executive Director of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications of Conatus.

Alan Engbring

Good afternoon. A press release of the company's second quarter 2014 financial results was issued earlier this afternoon and can be found on the Investor Center of the Conatus website at conatuspharma.com.

During today's call, we may make forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements due to risks and uncertainties associated with Conatus' business. These forward-looking statements are qualified by the cautionary statements contained in Conatus' SEC filings; including its Annual Report on Form 10-K and quarterly forward reports on Form 10-Q and Conatus' press releases, including today's release on second quarter 2014 financial result.

This call contains time-sensitive information that is accurate only as of the date of this live broadcast. Conatus undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this call.

Joining me on the call today is Steve Mento, President and Chief Executive Officer of Conatus, who will discuss recent company highlights and clinical development programs; and Chuck Cashion, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Conatus, who will review the company's financial results. We will then open the call for questions from invited participants.

I would now like to turn the call over to Steve Mento.

Steven Mento

Thank you, Alan, good afternoon, everyone. I’ll start with a quick review of our development strategy for lead compound, emricasan. As a reminder, emricasan is an orally active pan-caspase protease inhibitor that addresses both, excessive apoptosis and inflammation. These two key mechanisms of liver damage are common across a broad spectrum of liver diseases, regardless of the initial insight that cause the disease, whether it was a viral infection, obesity, drugs or alcohol or autoimmune disease, and regardless of the degree of disease progression from the earliest onset of liver damage to the end-stages approaching liver failure.

Our goal in the current and plan set of Phase 2 trial is to determine which applications may present the greatest unmet medical needs and offer the greatest commercial opportunities. We have progressed well on our clinical programs during the past quarter and are approaching an exciting period of data readouts over the next six to 12 months that will help us prioritize our future development plans.

I will provide updates on each of these efforts beginning with our longest running trial in patients at the most severe and of the liver disease spectrum. Here’s the ACLF update. Patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure or ACLF, have a history of cirrhosis complicated by an acute event that puts them at imminent risk of catastrophic liver failure typically cascading into additional organ failures. Based on data from preclinical and prior clinical studies, we believe emricasan may be able to enter up this rapid and life threatening disease progression.

We started a Phase 2b trial last September in the United Kingdom and expanded to U.S. sites beginning in January. In March, we announced a protocol amendment to address some of the challenges of enrolling these [severely] locations. I am very pleased to report that the amendment has helped with enrollment.

We confirmed our guidance today that initial data from the ACLF trial are expected in the second half of 2014. We also announced that we plan to complete dosing in the ACLF trial by year end 2014 likely without reaching the maximum of 60 patients, but we do expect enrollment and results to be sufficient to determine the future direction for the clinical development of emricasan in this critically ill patient population.

Remember also that we are conducting two additional clinical trials of emricasan in patients with impaired single organ function. A Phase 1 trial initiated in January of 2014 in patients with severe renal impairment and a phase 1 trial initiated in April of 2014 in patients with various degrees of [emphatic] impairment. We expect final results from these two trials along with initial data from the ACLF trial in the second half of 2014.

Pharmacokinetic data from the renal impairment and the hepatic impairment trials will also support the plan phase 2 clinical trial in patients with chronic liver failure or CLF which I’ll cover next. Now for the CLF update.

We believe emricasan may provide meaningful clinical benefit for CLF patients with long term cirrhosis whose disease symptoms progress in severity overtime. Patients who progress the liver decompensation can develop jaundice, variceal hemorrhage, ascites, or encephalopathy.

Their best hope is a liver transplant, and the most critically ill subset of this patient population may include those eligible for the transplant waiting list and those too sick to be on the transplant waiting list. We believe emricasan maybe able to delay further disease progression and stabilize these patients long enough for a suitable liver to become available for transplant or to restore their health enough, so they can qualify for a liver transplant.

As I mentioned, we will use the dosing and pharmacokinetic information from our trials and patients with single organ advanced staged disease as we finalize the design of the trial for patients with cirrhosis. We also believe emricasan may have the potential to benefit earlier-stage patients with cirrhosis whose liver function is still near normal. Our goal for this patient population would be to delay or prevent progression to decompensation. We expect to start Phase 2 clinical trial in cirrhosis patients in the second half of 2014.

Moving on to an update on our POLT-HCV-SVR patient population. The status of our ongoing Phase 2 trial in this population of liver transplant recipients whose hepatitis C virus infection has been resolved but who still have fibrosis in their transplant of livers. We highlighted this trial on our last call, so we’ll keep today’s update brief. This trial is designed to enroll up to 60 patients at about 15 U.S. clinical sites and we expect completion of enrollment to take about one year.

Dosing is at 25 mg orally twice each day for two years with one month follow up after the last dose. The trial is randomized 2:1 placebo controlled and blinded to both doctors and patients. The primary endpoint in this exploratory proof-of-concept clinical trial is the change in the Ishak Fibrosis Score compared to placebo. The trial will also evaluate other histological markers, key serum biomarkers, and of course safety and tolerability.

One area of potential interest in this trial is baseline biopsy information which should reveal whether some of these patients also have fattened their livers, if so, we’ll evaluate their base line NAFLD de-activity scores or NASH and any changes at subsequent annual biopsies. To provide interim evaluation opportunities in this three year study we designed this trial as sponsor open. We intend to provide periodic updates as the trial progresses with initial interim data expected in the first half of 2015.

Finally, I’ll focus on our phase 2 clinical trial for patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD including patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH. This trial began in early March and is designed to confirm the appropriate dose for potential future studies in this population. It will also expand emricasan’s safety data base into this less ill population and evaluate changes in key biomarkers of liver damage. There are no established phase 3 endpoints for NASH but this trial will position us to advance once an appropriate regulatory pathway is defined.

We are deferring announcement of topline results from the phase 2 NAFLD NASH clinical trial for the first quarter of 2015. This deferral should have no impact on our long term development plans to address opportunities across the liver disease spectrum. I’ll now turn the call over to Chuck to discuss our second quarter 2014 financial results.

Charles Cashion

Thank you, Steve. We announced our financial results for the second quarter in the first six months of 2014 after the market closed today. Research and development expenses were $3.5 million for the second quarter of 2014 compared with $1.1 million for the second quarter of 2013.

General and administrative expenses were $1.8 million for the second quarter of 2014 compared with $0.7 million for the second quarter of 2013. Research and Development expenses were $7.1 million for the first six months of 2014 compared with $2.1 million for the first six months of 2013.

General and Administrative expenses were $3.4 million for the first six months of 2014 compared with $1.4 million for the first six months of 2013. The net loss for the second quarter of 2014 was $5.3 million compared with $4.9 million for the second quarter of 2013. The net loss for the first six months of 2014 was $10.5 million compared with $7.2 million for the first six months of 2013.

The increased expenses and net loss reflected the broader scope of clinical development activities for emricasan and the additional [personal] and cost associated with public company obligation.

At June 30, 2014 we had cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $47.0 million compared with $56.4 million at December 31, 2013. We are projecting a year end 2014 balance of between $28 million to $32 million. We believe our financial resources are sufficient to fund our ongoing and plan, clinical development activities for at least the next 12 months, by which time we should reach significant clinical milestones in multiple programs.

I will now turn the call back to Steve for some closing comments before the Q&A session.

Steven Mento

Thank you, Chuck. Our development strategy currently involves a value aiding emricasan through a series of phase 2 trials addressing the broad spectrum of liver disease. We started last year with ACLF patients near the sickest end of the spectrum, this year we’ve expanded to NAFLD NASH patients near the healthy end of the spectrum to post transplant patients cleared of their HCV hepatitis C virus infections caused with residual fibrosis and expect to initiate a phase 2 trial in cirrhosis patients in the second half of this year.

We expect the flow of information from these trials over the next six to 12 months that will help us prioritize our opportunities for phase 3 and potential advancement towards commercialization. We are excited about our progress to date and eager to advance towards realizing that potential of emricasan.

That concludes our prepared comments. Now, I'd like to turn the call over to our operator to moderate the Q&A session. [Sheller] are you there?

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from the line of Charles Duncan from Piper Jaffray. Your line is now open.

Charles Duncan - Piper Jaffray

Hi guys thanks for taking the question and congrats on a good quarter of progress.

Steven Mento

Thanks, Charles.

Charles Duncan - Piper Jaffray

Steve, first of all I wanted to ask you for a little bit more color or clarity on the ACLF comments in terms of not needing to dose to the maximum number of patients, can you help us understand why that is, what are you seeing in that trial thus far?

Steven Mento

Well as you know the trial was primarily designed and with its primary end point as a pharmacokinetic analysis in patients with that could have two organs failing simultaneously in various degrees of failure, liver of course and renal. We took steps to supplement that trial with pharmacokinetic analysis in single organ failure of patients, those data are helping us to understand the pharmacokinetic properties independent of the ACLF trial and as I mentioned earlier the data from those two trials are what we are using now to help us inform on the dose for the planned CLF study.

So part of the rationale relative to not needing for maximum is that we have supplemented PK data in these two studies and that has enabled us, we believe to conclude the study by year end and have sufficient information to inform on the future direction in ACLF both from that PK data again supplemented with the data from the other two studies, as well as what we’ve talked about in the past, directional movement of biomarkers in individual patients to help us understand the potential activity of the drug in this patient population.

Finally and again one of the things that from our past discussions about this, a very critically ill population, a very delicate population with respect to their clinical situation upon enrollment, and by having sites open in the U.S. and in the UK we think we have learned a lot about the practical aspect carrying out at clinical trial in this is really of population.

So the combination of those three things, additional PK data, the belief that we’ll be able to get sufficient information on directional movement of biomarkers, plus the practical aspects enable us we believe to stop enrollment in the study and give, have that data available by the end of this year even if we don’t hit the 60 patients maximum threshold.

Charles Duncan - Piper Jaffray

Okay. That’s helpful. And then hop in over to CLF and it seems like at first perhaps a more I guess manageable patient population and you said prevention or delay of progress to decompensation will be the goal of that study. Could you help us better understand perhaps the size, the time and the design of that and just a little bit more parameters on what we could expect with kind of to that CLF study?

Steven Mento

We’re not in a position to provide details on that study right now, other than to agree with like you’ve said, one of the reasons why we have targeted the initiation of the study in this population. We felt that we wanted to have the pharmacokinetic data from the single organ failure patients in hand in order to select the proper dose for this population.

This is a population that with respect to disease status is not that different from ACLF population, except that because they are in particular can be patients either on a liver transplant list or who want to be on the liver transplant list, compliance and their monitoring is much more rigid than in the ACLF population. So we’re very excited about the opportunity to initiate trial in this population.

We think that a lot of the things that we would hope to see in the ACLF population could also apply to this population as well. And as we get to the time frame from initiation we’ll be able to provide you with more details on the [indiscernible] and specific endpoints in that trial.

Charles Duncan - Piper Jaffray

And specifically you intent to start this year and perhaps that would be let’s say it on clinical trials, we’ll be able to take look at those details?

Steven Mento

That is correct.

Charles Duncan - Piper Jaffray

And then final question and then I’ll hop back in the queue. With regard to the NASH readout timing, was it clear to be why that was being pushed a little bit, is that because you’re of enrollments or you’re learning more about that disease perhaps even a recent Mindshare competitor spoke about fibrosis perhaps you provide some perspective on that?

Steven Mento

Sure. Understand the question and it’s really research management exercise. The timing on completion of that trial does not impact the time line for potential Phase 3 development opportunity in NASH population. And with the analysis of the ACLF trail working to have that data available by year-end as well as we whole trial up and running starting a new trial in CLF.

We felt that prudent to differ that till first quarter strictly to make sure that we focused our resources really on the more time sensitive clinical indication than NASH at this time.

Charles Duncan - Piper Jaffray

Okay. And any perspective from on their recent fibrosis score changes that we readout by Mindshare competitor and how that could impact your development plans in NASH and NAFLD?

Steven Mento

We still believe that there is work to be done and defining what the Phase 3 approval endpoint is/or this study population. And I think any information that points to endpoints that’s your meaningful improvement in this patients is valuable, but we think -- we still believe the word is out and what the approval endpoint is. Now we make get clarity on that later on as people go into Phase 3. I’m not aware if anybody who is actually gone into Phase 3 or at least announce that they’re in Phase 3 yet, so, I think encouraging but until we know where the Phase 3 endpoints are, a bit difficult to speculate on the importance overall.

Charles Duncan - Piper Jaffray

Thanks for taking the question, Steve.

Steven Mento

Thank you, Charles.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Stephen Willey from Stifel. Your line is now open.

Stephen Willey –Stifel

Yes. Hi, guys. Thanks. Steve just wondering if you can give us any color around the number of ACLF patients we might have data for by year-end?

Steven Mento

Well, I think -- the important thing is we’re going to have enough and two statements, one the amendment that we implemented in markets having an impact. So, we are -- we definitely adding the U.S. sites are having an impact. And I think that has allowed us to confirm the fact that we’re going to have the information we need in order to make an inform decision.

The 60-patient number was always a guidance line and a target. From a pharmacokinetic study we basically only need to dose the patients one time for a day. So that was an added benefit. And we believe we’ll have sufficient patients to answer the question that we’ve been talking about with respect to activity, directional movement from the final subsets. I’m not going to comment of the total patient number, but understand that, if we didn’t think we’d have enough, we wouldn’t be confirming the guidance for year-end.

Stephen Willey – Stifel

Okay. And then I think just based on kind of the general perception that it was going to be challenging, I think the key efficacy out the 60 patients study. I guess does this make it harder, one. And then two, what kind of efficacy go oppose or activity go oppose that you now kind of establishing for yourselves entirely as to in terms of trying to find out no-go decision in 2015, specifically in the context of some many enrollment challenges that you guys have faced?

Steven Mento

Sure. Good question again. Remember that we never guided that this was going to be powered for efficacy a primary endpoint for Phase 3. So, we’ve always said the primarily endpoints PK and that in addition we needed to be informed on two other things. One is, we need to see directional movement in those biomarkers where we have seen in the less ill patients, translate into functional measure – functional improvements in those patients. And that something that is achievable we believe on a patient by patient basis analysis. So it’s not something that we never guided that we’re going to have an mean group changes, because this is such a diverse and sick population, there’s a lot of variability in that population.

And the other component was as you pointed the practical aspect. The fact is that these patients are managed differently in different locating and compliance is a challenged on patient that are enroll once they well enough to leave hospital, that’s distinctly different than the expectation that we would have in the CLF population. Where if those patients want to be either on the transplant list or get on the transplant list, they have to compliant. They have to show-up for their visits. They have to be sober. So I think the three aspects that we’ve always talked about in CLF, pharmacokinetic, the directional movement and the practical aspects, we’re going to have by the end of the year. And the endpoint, the Phase 3 endpoint is never some thing that we expected even with 60 patients.

Stephen Willey – Stifel

Okay. And then, I know when commenting about the CLF, the other CLF opportunities, Lisa, respect to patient population, you talked about those patients that are on the transplant list, then also I think those patients that have near normal liver function and do you intent the Phase 2 I know you generally give too many specifics around detail at this point. But you intent that Phase 2 to contain kind of a collection of both subtypes or would you expect to try just stick to those patients that are maybe on transplant whereby there’s little bit of a reduction in the heterogeneity from a practicality perspective.

Steven Mento

I think at this time all I’m prepared to say that these are going to be patients that are clearly in a cirrhosis population and we’ll provide details on the patient populations at the initiation time of the trial.

Stephen Willey – Stifel

Okay. Thanks.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Ed Arce form ROTH Capital Partners. Your line is not open.

Ed Arce – ROTH Capital Partners

Hi, guys. Thanks for taking my questions.

Steven Mento

Hi, Ed.

Ed Arce – ROTH Capital Partners

Yes. So I just had a question on the POLT trial you mentioned that you would be interested in subset of patients who are found to have steatosis upon biopsy that you would also evaluate them for the NAS score. I’m wondering if you would look to translate any responses that you find there into the broader population of NAFLD or NASH?

Steven Mento

Yes. That’s actually what the opportunities could be. We’ve found in working with physicians on initiating the trail. They have told us that a significant proportion of patients, post transplant in our study population are expected to have fat in their livers steatosis. And if we were doing this as Phase 3 trial which we have originally had talked about in December of last year, we would have excluded those patients, because in over opinion the one validated marker from a fibrosis perspective is the Ishak fibrosis score which is still the primary endpoint in this study. But that relates only to virus infections, because the localization of the collagen in response to a virus inflection in the liver is [pari] portal. And the Ishak fibrosis score isn’t just the quantitative nature of that collagen but always where it’s localized and how the cross one can goes.

The fact that we’re in a Phase 2 trial and a exploratory trials gave us the opportunity to broaden the scope of the patient population allowed upon entry here to include patients that not only have had HCV, and they have that curved, but also had fat in their liver. So in practice what you may see and this will be particularly interesting as the baseline biopsies are evaluated, patients that have no fat in their liver and basically fibrosis associated only with their prior HCV infection. But also patients that have a combination of fat in their liver, perhaps fibrosis associated with that fat, which will be localized differently and fibrosis associated with HCV.

The exploratory nature of the study allows us to look at those same biopsies and measure the fibrosis using different scoring system and also more symmetrically. So from an information perspective, we hope to get data not only about how this drug behaves and I’ll call it the pure HCV and cell population, those without steatosis. But also inform us on patients that has steatosis, which we believe would be directly related to a pure NASH population. So we think we can have the best of both words in one study.

Ed Arce – ROTH Capital Partners

Okay. Great. That’s helpful. Another question I had was with a recent top-line upfront data that was released early this week. I’m just wondering you may have touched upon this earlier, but in regard to potential differential affects that you may expect to see which emricasan, perhaps especially given its prior strong response in halting or reversing fibrosis, if you have any comments there?

Steven Mento

Well, first up the only fibrosis data we have is in animal right now. So the POLT study would be our first in human biopsy based endpoint data. So I’d make sure that that that’s clear. And again I think that the activity in liver disease in general is very positive and I think the activity and a tension to the NASH base is also very positive, because I think we need to get there. We need to get to a situation where there is a regulatory pathway to approval. And I think positive data and different mechanisms of action. Different organizations pressuring the regulators to provide some sort of a common theme on Phase 3 is petty critically important. I don’t think where they are yet, but I think that any data generated in this population is a step in the right direction.

Ed Arce – ROTH Capital Partners

Okay. Just one quick last one, then if I may -- do you see or do you – are you aware of any incremental progress in reaching some Phase 3 endpoints or pathway for NASH or we still at the same where we were a few months ago?

Steven Mento

I think until – until there is some written information with a regulatory person’s name associated with it. We’re in the same places who were five months ago, six months ago, eight months ago. And I think it’s a very difficult situation for the regulators, because obviously this is a very visible disease, but they are precedence for what surrogate endpoints would be the appropriate endpoints in this population. So I do think we’re kind of where we were and I’m hoping we’re moving in the right direction, but I don’t have any practical evidence that says that we are other than the dialogue continues.

Ed Arce – ROTH Capital Partners

Okay. Thanks again and congrats on the progress in the quarter.

Steven Mento

Thank you very much Ed.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Andrew [indiscernible] from JMP Securities. Your line is now open.

Unidentified Analyst

HI, guys. I’m on Lisa here, I had a couple of question for you. First, on the ACLF study, I just want to make sure that I understand the timing of when we can expect the data for that. So the data that you’re planning to release this year just going to be PK data?

Steven Mento

Sorry, Andrew, our goal would be by year end to be able to provide information of the pharmacokinetic situation in those patients, as well as biomarker data and the potential for that biomarker data to translate into functional improvement by the end of this year, which is kind of what we’ve been saying that we’re going to deliver on and we expect to deliver that.

Unidentified Analyst

Got you. Thank you. And then the other question on the POLT study, you mentioned you are expecting to see a signification number of these patients with fatty livers coming in, cay you be a little bit more specific than significant, is it 10% or 50%, what are we expecting?

Steven Mento

Well, we have to see what’s happened in our study but the literature tells us that anywhere from 20% to 40% of these patients can have fat in their liver and in particular if the infection was due to Hepatitis C – I’m sorry Hepatitis C, genotype 3, I think the proportion is even higher than that. So and talking with the physicians I think that it could be as high as 40% or 50%, it could be less than that depends on the patients population, but its not one or two patients. So we think that there will be – we hope that will be enough patients in there to really get a good look at what the drug does histological against in patients who have fat in their liver.

Unidentified Analyst

Great. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Our next question comes from the line of Bert Hazlett from Ladenburg. Your line is now open

Bert Hazlett - Ladenburg

Thank you, thanks for taking the question and my congrats on the good work as well. I’ll stick with the POLT-HCV just commentary and questions. And Steve given this is sponsor open trial, when do you think there might be initial looks as to the patient base line characteristics for the trial and more specifically when do you think – what is the goal for baseline fibrosis scores for these patients?

Steven Mento

Well let me answer the second question first because that’s the more straight forward one. We projected its going to take about a year to enroll the patients and then for the full patient cohort if we choose to hold off on the information until then it would be a year after that. So and that would not be in the first half of 2015 for the full cohort I mean it’s the logical perspective. We do expect to have in that first half certainly base line data on what the biopsies look like as well as data on where the biomarkers started and where they are moving in that respect.

So, the fibrosis one of the reasons why we had this study as a sponsor open study, its really a three year duration study and because it’s explored to why we think that there are opportunities for multiple looks but I think the only thing we are wanting to commit to now is some sort of interim data certainly not, we would not expect that to be a complete histological look at the total population but some data in the first half of next year.

Bert Hazlett - Ladenburg

Okay, so just to be clear. Patient base line characteristics, sometime in the first half as well as some potential performance data as well for the molecule in this setting as well, is that what you are saying?

Steven Mento

Yes, that’s fair.

Bert Hazlett – Ladenburg

Okay. Thank you all the other ones have been taken. Thank you very much.

Steven Mento

You’re welcome.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Charles Duncan from Piper Jaffray. Your line is now open.

Charles Duncan - Piper Jaffray

Thanks Steve for taking this follow up. Quick question regarding development partnerships and any new thinking there obviously there’s a lot of interest in liver disease and I guess I’m just wondering if you have any updated thoughts on strategy with regard to development partnerships.

Steven Mento

Well one thing that we are focused on in the context of our development opportunities are in areas where we believe Conatus could move the drug all the way through to approval on our own. So we are focused, most of our trials are in the U.S. some in Europe, no plans for trials in Asia at this stage of the game and the indications that are most likely are phase 3 opportunities would not require a partner for us to execute on that phase 3 and frankly go all the way through commercialization.

That hasn’t changed, but I think if that generates excitement and it looks like there are some real phase 3 opportunities in some of these broader indications that’s where I think a partnership becomes more appealing to us. So until that information is available and there’s a clear direction in those larger populations we’ll be opportunistic from a partnering perspective but our focus is on taking it all the way on our own if we can.

Charles Duncan - Piper Jaffray

And any kind of [indiscernible] that were in Asia is there a different perspective with regard to that region?

Steven Mento

There is. I think that as I’m sure you are well aware; hepatitis B is not something that we’re focused on from our -- particular development pathway. Huge, huge liver disease in the Asian population, and that potentially could be another area of exploration from a partnership prospective for us. So specifically in a population where the vast majority of the population is there in Asia, but also with the locals the Asian company having resources there to manage and execute on that. That’s another potential but again that would be opportunistic not a focus for us.

Charles Duncan - Piper Jaffray

Okay. Good [deal] thanks for taking the follow up.

Operator

Thank you. There are no further questions at this time. I would now like to turn the call back over to Steve Mento for closing comments.

Steven Mento

Well, want to thank you all for your participation in today's call and for your continued support of Conatus. We really look forward to updating you again very soon.

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference call. You may disconnect now.

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