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Cancer-fighting mission shoots Imugene up ASX boards

Updated: Apr 19

Imugene heads up the Bulls N’ Bears ASX runners for this week. Credit: File


In modern days of fast vehicles and seemingly even faster living, there are few people or families who have not been touched by some form of the insidious disease. From the breast to the brain, or the kidneys to the ovaries, the bastard thing seems to be almost everywhere.

But there is hope – and thankfully, companies such as Imugene are trying desperately and cleverly to give us all more if it.

And the company’s multi=pronged mission aimed at beating cancer is clearly resonating with ASX investors, too. Its stock surged more than 212 per cent last week to touch a high of 15 cents after closing the previous week at just 4.8c.

The price was just 3.9c on October 23.

Imugene’s hike up the boards follows a recent announcement of a trial that has now cleared cohort four of the intravenous arm of its monotherapy dose escalation study in the United States, which it is running alongside a combination assessment with a second cohort where the company’s “Vaxinia” therapy is being administered with checkpoint inhibitor drug, pembrolizumab.

Also known as “Keytruda”, pembrolizumab is used to try and stop cancer cells from suppressing the immune system, allowing it to attack and kill the cancer cells. Both of Imugene’s phase-one trials have been designed to test the safety of Vaxinia as a therapy for patients with metastatic advanced solid tumours.

The company says having passed the evaluation stage for the most recent sections of its respective dose-escalation trials, it will now seek participants for a fifth and final assessment of its intravenous monotherapy and a third and final cohort for the intravenous combination therapy.

Management also last week revealed it had it had delivered the first dose of its azer-cel therapy to a patient suffering from “difficult-to-treat” diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), Patients with the condition, who have relapsed after autologous CAR T therapy, have limited therapeutic options, meaning new and more effective therapies are required to help give them greater hope of survival.

High-profile AFL identity and MND warrior Neale Daniher has often said, “If you haven’t got hope, you haven’t got much”. So here is to med-tech researchers such as Imugene and the global mission to never give up.

Now, let’s get back to the hard-rock figures that usually fill this column. Krakatoa Resources hit some significant numbers recently, with 13 of 16 drill holes hitting pegmatites and spitting out results up to 4.3 per cent lithium at the company’s Wilson prospect.

This writer was initially excited by the idea of drilling the volcanic expanses of Hawaii when we saw the name Krakatoa jumping up the boards, but it turns out that the company is actually exploring near the often searingly-hot Western Australian town of Mt Magnet.

Hole depths in Krakatoa’s latest campaign ranged from 42m to 174m, with an average of 113m. It says 13 holes intersected pegmatites, which were hosted in a mixture of dolerite and fine-grained metasediments.

Its share price jumped nearly 189 per cent on the latest figures to touch 7.8 cents during intraday trading last Thursday.

TechGen Metals was also among the big movers and shakers after it unveiled a simple exploration update for its multiple operations, including its John Bull gold project where it has hit gold in New South Wales. The company received the green light to conduct a third phase of drilling at the operation where it has previously highlighted gold anomalies of more than 10 grams per tonne gold.

It also confirmed it is about to start a detailed pegmatite sampling program at Ida Valley to evaluate its lithium potential, given the favourable associations with lithium and pathfinder elements. TechGen says while pegmatites are abundant in the area, they have not been systematically sampled in the past, largely due to a previous focus on gold, and it has identified three promising areas beyond previous reverse-circulation (RC) drilling.

GreenTech Metals also shoved the share price dial after launching a 1500m diamond drill campaign at its Osborne joint venture project in WA’s Pilbara region, just as a trio of mining heavyweights sunk their teeth into a notable neighbour.

With nearby Azure Minerals attracting significant recent investment from Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, Chris Ellison’s Mineral Resources and Chilean mining giant Sociedad Química y Minera (SQM), GreenTech’s share price jump probably wasn’t really much of a surprise.

After closing at 54.5 cents the previous Friday, the company’s stock rose to a high of 99c last week – an increase of nearly 82 per cent and on its biggest volumes since July.

GreenTech has been anxious to start drilling since previous sampling at its operation delivered impressive figures including one assay showing results of up to 3.63 per cent lithium oxide. X-ray diffraction analysis also confirmed the presence of spodumene-bearing pegmatites at Osborne and at the company’s adjoining Kobe operation.

Management says the southern lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatite zone sits within the Osborne tenements and comprises a total combined 4km of strike.

This column usually plies its trade on four running companies each week, but it would be remiss of us not to also give TG Metals a more-then-honourable mention.

A relative newcomer, having only listed on the ASX in May last year, its stock rose from 49.5 cents the previous Friday to hit a high of $1.30 last week – a whopping rise of more than 162 per cent.

Clearly, the market liked the thought of the company getting back into work with the RC rig at its Burmeister lithium discovery, which sits within its Lake Johnston project in WA.

This column sometimes jests about the pulling power of lithium when it comes to ASX markets. But in all seriousness, there is no doubt about how it can impact.

In fact, figures last week revealed that lithium and LNG sales had soared to a record $254 billion in 2022-23. Iron ore remains WA’s resource king, but lithium has quickly climbed the State’s ladder to sit in a clear second place.

Sales of lithium spodumene concentrate soared to $21 billion in the past financial year — a more than 20-fold increase on the $820 million in revenue generated in 2020. And it would be fair to punt on the possibility of this column talking more about it next week.

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