top of page

Medtechs get fair reward for fighting the good fight

Updated: Mar 12


This week’s Bulls N’ Bears top ASX runner is… Noxopharm. Credit: File

With the relentless ringing of “James Bay” and “lithium” through the ASX markets of late, this column was in dire need of some medicine and a good lie down.


Then, as if on cue, the pharmaceuticals started circling like a buzzard over a carcass. And if – as poet William Cowper boldly suggested in his piece titled “The Task” back in the 18th century – variety is actually the spice of life, then detailing last week’s best ASX share price runners may prove to be something of a panacea.


No James Bay. No lithium. No worries.


Leading the charge up the ASX boards was Noxopharm – a biotech company working on treatments for both cancer and inflammation. Its share price rocketed 323 per cent to touch 16.5 cents after a previous close of 3.9c after the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) granted orphan drug designation (ODD) status for the medtech’s CRO-67 treatment for pancreatic cancer.


ODD recipients receive benefits and incentives including tax credits for qualified clinical trials, exemption from user fees and a potential seven years of market exclusivity following the drug’s approval. The orphan status can be granted by the USFDA for a drug or biologic product with the potential to diagnose, prevent or treat rare diseases and conditions.


Management says so far this year only two other Australian companies have received an ODD from the FDA, from a total of 260 issued.


The designation comes shortly after the company presented further encouraging CRO-67 data at the American Association of Cancer Research Special Conference on Pancreatic Cancer. Its recent pancreatic cancer model results show significantly reduced tumour volume and slower growth. This research follows work conducted last year, which showed that CRO-67 killed tumour cells and barrier cells in samples taken from patients who had their tumours surgically removed.


If you are a bit squeamish, then maybe look away now as the new results came from a study that involved human pancreatic cancer tumour cells being implanted under the skin of mice. The mice were then treated with CRO-67 for 21 days, with tumour volume measured over the dosing period.


At the end of drug treatment, CRO-67 was found to significantly reduce tumour volume in vivo by an average of 56.7 per cent, as against the untreated controls. Additionally, CRO-67 slowed down the rate at which the tumours grew by 48 per cent.


As far as Bulls N’ Bears understands, no mice were harmed during the writing of this column.


However, Noxopharm says pancreatic cancer is set to become the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US by 2040 and has a poor five-year survival rate of about 9 per cent from the time of diagnosis. The disease is especially difficult to treat because the tumours are surrounded by a dense barrier of cells that protects them from anti-cancer drugs and the body’s natural immune system.


Continuing the trend for the medtechs, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Dimerix shot up 244 per cent to reach 21c last week. The run came after the company revealed it had entered into a deal that gave ADVANZ PHARMA exclusive rights to register and commercialise its DMX-200 for the treatment of Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) in the European Economic Area, in addition to the UK, Switzerland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


The deal looks like a significant payday for Dimerix, which is set to pocket up to $230 million in upfront and milestone payments, in addition to tiered royalties on net sales. The upfront payment alone nets a decent $10.8 million.


FSGS is a rare disease that causes kidney scarring and can lead to end-stage kidney disease. DMX-200 is currently in global phase-three clinical development, with the first analysis outcome expected in March next year.


ADVANZ will leverage its specialty, hospital and rare disease expertise and commercial platform to register and effectively promote the product and offer greater patient access, while Dimerix retains all rights to DMX-200 in all other territories.


It is nice to see a couple of medtechs get a win. A lot of hard work goes into the development of specific treatments and it often goes unnoticed and largely unappreciated … until it really matters for families suddenly cast into a fight for a loved one’s life.


Medtech companies led the charge on the ASX last week. Credit: File

Israeli-based Roots Sustainable Agriculture Technologies was another big mover from the past week. Its share price moved 160 per cent to touch 1.3c after it secured a purchase order and a potential representation agreement with Silal Food and Technology. The purchase order will see Roots pocket $288,266 for two root zone cooling projects for Silal’s berry farming operation in the United Arab Emirates. Berry nice, indeed.


The company is developing and commercialising technologies to address critical problems faced by agriculture including management of a plant’s root zone temperature and the shortage of water for irrigation.


Roots’ installation team will begin project initiation immediately with a pilot grow period, where its proprietary root zone cooling system will be deployed by Silal for the upcoming strawberry farming season.


And what better way to round out the celebration of diversity in this week’s column than to shut the eyes for a few seconds and think only of big, fluffy toys and fun games.


Serendipitously, Toys“R”Us rounds out the final four of last week’s movers and shakers after its share price moved 77.8 per cent to reach 1.6c after a previous close of 0.9 cents.


Why? No idea. In fact, the ASX sent the company a “Please Explain” notice after the hike.


Although, the previous week the company announced its 2023 financial report and operational update which showed some interesting figures, including realised cost reductions of about $4 million so far this year. The report also claims the company improved its gross margin in the Australian direct-to-customer e-commerce division from 16.4 per cent in February up to 22.3 per cent in April.


Management plans to accelerate and scale the Toys“R”Us, Babies“R”Us and Hobby Warehouse operations in Australia and in New Zealand during the next year under new functional leadership.


The report also shows that Toys“R”Us shortlisted applicants for the managing director role for the Australia-New Zealand region, which sounds like a dream gig until you realise that it is more about financials than actually playing with any of the toys.


The writer of this column did not make the short list for that job. Nor for the United Kingdom commercial director role. Nor for the new managing director and chief executive officer position that went to Penny Cox after former chief executive officer Louis Mittoni resigned.


I’m not bitter. I’m just disappointed. Probably more on James Bay next week.


Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: office@bullsnbears.com.au

3 views

Comentários


bottom of page