Companies and institutions that provide medical assistance and services, manufactures of medical equipment, engage in clinical trials and development of drugs, are part of the healthcare sector. The Australian government makes significant contributions towards the country’s healthcare sector via Medicare and other such programs.
In this article, we will discuss four healthcare stocks listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Bionomics Limited (ASX: BNO) is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, engaged in the development of better treatment for anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and other central nervous system (CNS) disorders. The company got listed on ASX in 1999 and is headquartered in Thebarton, South Australia.
Research & Development:
- Technology: Being a fully integrated biotechnology company, Bionomics Limited has developed proprietary technology platforms for every stage in the discovery as well as development of a drug. ionX® is a combined platform of genomics discoveries and technologies, which acts as a base for the company in discovering and developing drugs for CNS disorders.
- Pipeline: The company has a portfolio of drug candidates for the treatment of severe conditions with a substantial unmet clinical requirement. These drug candidates have a huge market opportunity. Owing to two distinguishing attributes of high-quality drug candidates and strategic partnering strategy, respectively, the company is able to speed up its pipeline development. Its drug candidates are targeted towards clinically significant anxiety disorders and cancer stem cell therapies in solid tumours.
- Poster Presentations: The company also presents its findings at multiple prestigious international conferences and publications.
- Clinical Trials: At present, the clinical trials of the company include Phase 2 of BNC210, which is being designed for agitation in the aged people, Phase 1 of BNC105, which is being tested for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Phase 2 of BNC105, targeted towards the treatment of colorectal cancer.
R&D Tax Incentive Refund:
On 22 July 2019, Bionomics Limited announced to have received R&D Tax Incentive Refund for the financial year 2017/2018. The incentive refund worth A$ 1.32 million was made, in addition to an interest of $ 17,593.18, based on an internal review of the company’s application by the Department of Industry, Innovation & Science. Through the incentive, government of Australia encourages companies to carry out research & development activities.
Results from Clinical Trial of BNC210:
Recently on 26 June 2019, the company updated the market regarding top line data of phase 2 trial of the drug candidate, which is a novel, orally administered, first-in-class, negative allosteric modulator of the ?7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. Details related to the update can be read here.
Market Opportunity for BNC210 (Source: Company’s Report)
In the last six months, the shares of BNO have provided a negative return of 67.20%. With the ASX open on 22 July 2019, the price of the shares of BNO was A$ 0.042. By the closure of the trading period, the price of BNO’s share was A$ 0.041. BNO has a market cap of A$ 22.33 million and ~ 544.69 million outstanding shares.
MedAdvisor Limited (ASX: MDR) is an e-healthcare software developer, focusing on providing most effective software in the world that is capable of managing personal medication so that people are able to make the best use of the medication. It serves as one of the leading digital medication management companies in Australia.
MedAdvisor is an innovative software, giving access to a virtual pharmacist, ‘Pharmacist Phil’, on smartphone, tablet or personal computer. It connects the user with their local pharmacy to assist in taking medication safely, effectively as well as on time. Since the launch in 2013, it has connected more than 1 million users via approximately 55% of pharmacies and a network of thousands of general practitioners in the country.
Below figure depicts the features offered by the company’s software.
On 22 July 2019, the company announced the appointment of Simon Glover as its new Chief Financial Officer. The finance professional has held various senior finance roles in companies like Tabcorp Holding (ASX: TAH) and Coles Group (ASX: COL). He also holds industry experience from his time at Mayne Pharma. Simon Glover was engaged in the global expansion of Jetstar, as he undertook the responsibility of all finance related matters with respect to the international expansion of the business.
The new CTO would directly report to the CEO and Managing Director of the company, Robert Read. He would assume his responsibilities as MedAdvisor Limited CFO by late July 2019. The new appointment was announced after Carlo Campiciano, who is one of the founding members of MedAdvisor, decided to step down from his position as CFO. Carlo Campiciano will now serve as the company secretary.
In the last six months, the shares of MDR have provided a decent return of 24.32%. With the ASX open on 22 July 2019, the price of the shares of MDR was A$ 0.046. By the closure of the trading period, the price of MDR’s share was A$ 0.045, down 2.174% as compared to its previous closing price. MDR has a market cap of A$ 63.11 million and ~ 1.37 billion outstanding shares.
Kazia Therapeutics Limited
Operating as a biotechnology company, Kazia Therapeutics Limited (ASX: KZA) focuses on the field of oncology. The company is engaged in the development of anti-cancer drugs and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Research and Pipeline:
The company uses best available scientific understandings for addressing the most challenging cancers in the world. GDC-0084 is a novel targeted therapy, which is licensed from Genentech and is being developed for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme, a type of brain cancer majorly in adults.
Cantrixil is another drug candidate, which is being developed by the company targeted towards ovarian cancer. The US Food and Drug Administration granted orphan designation to the drug candidate for ovarian cancer in April 2015.
According to a market update by Kazia Therapeutics Limited on 22 July 2019, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York will investigate the potential use of the company’s drug candidate GDC-0084 in association with radiotherapy in a first phase clinical trial. The test will include patients with solid tumor brain metastases that is the cancer spreading to the brain and leptomeningeal metastases that harbors a genetic alteration in the PI3K pathway.
The trial is expected to involve 18 to 30 patients. It is likely to finish in approximately two years. The centre will lead the trial, for which the company will provide support in terms of study drug and a financial grant for a portion of the costs. The study would be performed under an ‘investigator IND’ with the US FDA.
In the last six months, the shares of KZA have provided a negative return of 7.14%. With the ASX open on 22 July 2019, the price of the shares of KZA was A$ 0.390. By the closure of the trading period, the price of KZA’s share was A$ 0.410, up by 5.128% as compared to its previous closing price. KZA has a market cap of A$ 24.25 million and ~ 24.25 million outstanding shares.
Opthea Limited (ASX: OPT) is a healthcare company, which focuses on improving the vision of patients who suffer from retinal eye diseases.
The company at present is developing OPT-302, which would be used with the existing standard of care anti-VEGF-A therapies. OPT-302 is a soluble form of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 that blocks the activity of VEGF-C and VEGF-D, the two form of proteins which result in the blood vessels to grow and leak, leading to the pathophysiology of retinal diseases. It is capable of addressing the unmet medical need of patients suffering from wet AMD and DME.
On 22 July 2019, Opthea Limited gave timing update on the Phase 2b trial for OPT-302, which is being designed for wet AMD and DME. According to the company, primary data from the continuing Phase 2b trial of OPT-302 will occur one quarter before the earlier expected. The primary data is now anticipated to occur in the third quarter of CY2019.
Apart from this, the company is also stepping ahead with its clinical program in diabetic macular edema. The ongoing Phase 2a randomised, controlled clinical trial which examines the safety and efficacy of OPT-302 in patients suffering from persistent center-involved diabetic macular edema has progressed well. Moreover, the study has entered into the final phase of recruitment. The primary data from the Phase 2a DME trial is anticipated to occur in early 2020.
In the last six months, the shares of OPT have provided a return of 4.58%. With the ASX open on 22 July 2019, the price of the shares of OPT was A$ 0.8. By the closure of the trading period, the price of KZA’s share was A$ 0.820, up by 2.5% as compared to its previous closing price. OPT has a market cap of A$ 199.53 million and ~ 249.41 million outstanding shares.
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