The biotechnology sector is one of those sectors that presents an incredible opportunity for huge returns to investors. This is because the business of curing diseases can be lucrative, and any company with a small market capitalisation can be worth millions overnight. Most of the biotechnology firms are engaged in research and development rather than the marketing of their own drugs.
There is a minor difference between the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, which is biotech companies usually take risk while pharma companies diversify and manage risk. For the investors that are prepared to make bold moves, the biotech sector could be the right investment option. The biotech sector is also increasingly in demand as the life expectancy of human beings has improved, and people seek biotech to solve their medical problems.
Australian Biotechnology Industry
Australia is a powerhouse of pharmaceutical and biotechnology innovation as the country has world-class scientists, excellent research facilities and a strong but flexible regulatory regime. The vibrant biotech sector of Australia attracts strong international attention as the country has significant opportunities in areas like proteomics, clinical trials and biodiscovery. The country is regarded as an ideal location to conduct clinical trials due to its world-class research capabilities. However, the clinical trials undertaken in Australia are liable to many regulatory controls. In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration governs the use of therapeutic goods employed in clinical trials to ensure the safety of participants.
The Australian government has been focussing on funding innovative medical research in the country for more than 100 years. The funding has supported the country in becoming one of the best countries in performing medical research. The government launched the Biomedical Translation Fund in August 2016, which was a $500 million fund for supporting the Australian medical research.
ASX-Listed Biotech Stocks
Now, let us have a look at few of the biotechnology stocks listed on the Australian Stock Exchange that have generated huge returns in 2019 to-date:
An Australia based medical device company, PolyNovo Limited (ASX: PNV) use its NovoSorb® biodegradable polymer technology to manufacture, design and develop dermal regeneration solutions (NovoSorb® BTM). The development program of the company covers Hernia, Breast Sling and Orthopaedic applications.
In May this year, the company was granted access to the US DoD (Department of Defence) contracts through VA (Veteran’s Affairs), and Defence Acquisition and Program Administration contract. With the access, the DoD facilities were given the permission to buy NovoSorb® BTM to be used for the treatment of veteran’s, serving military and their families.
In April 2019, a German-based company, PolyMedics Innovations was appointed as the distributor for NovoSorb® BTM (Biodegradable Temporising Matrix) in Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Luxemburg (DACH).
The company reported in May 2019 that it has generated a revenue from BTM sales of more than $1 million for the first time in April.
PolyNovo announced its half-year results for the period ending 31 December 2018 on 21st February 2019. The revenue of the company improved to $5.67m during the period from $2.72 million in the prior corresponding period (pcp). The company also reported a net loss after income tax of $1.92 million that reduced from $3.23 million in pcp due to a substantial growth in commercial sales of product locally and overseas.
The company’s stock closed higher on ASX today at AUD 1.625, up by 2.84 per cent relative to the last closed price. Around 3.17 million number of company’s shares were in trade today. The stock has delivered a tremendous return of 190 per cent on a YTD basis. Besides this, the stock has generated a return of 91.21 per cent and 36.47 per cent in the last three months and one month respectively.
Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited
An Australian headquartered clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX: TLX) focusses on the development of therapeutic and diagnostic products based on “molecularly-targeted radiation” or targeted radiopharmaceuticals. Headquartered in Melbourne, the company operates internationally in Indianapolis (US), Kyoto (JP) and Liège (EU).
Capital Raising Announcement
In an announcement on the ASX today, the company informed about the successful completion of a heavily oversubscribed $40.0 million private placement of 30.8 million new, fully paid ordinary shares issued at a price of $1.30 per new share to professional and sophisticated investors. The company will also offer the opportunity to existing shareholders to participate via a Share Purchase Plan in order to raise up to $5.0 million further.
Recently, the company reported about the positive outcome from Phase III meeting that was held on 17th June 2019 with the US Food and Drug Administration to discuss on the inclusion of American patients into the ZIRCON Phase III study. The company informed that it has received support and clear guidance from the US FDA to submit the regulatory package in the US.
Telix Pharmaceuticals announced its annual results for the year ending 31st December 2018 in February 2019. The company reported a rise of 117 per cent in loss after tax from continuing operations after tax that stood at $13.82 million during the period. The total equity at 31 December 2018 was recorded at $52.9 million.
The company’s stock ended the trading session lower on ASX at AUD 1.600, down by 4.19 per cent in comparison to the last closed price. 2.5 million number of company’s shares were in trading on ASX today with a market capitalisation of AUD 364.67 million. The stock has generated a substantial YTD return of 156.92 per cent. In fact, the stock delivered a return of 68.69 per cent in the last one month only.
Botanix Pharmaceuticals Limited
A Northbridge-headquartered clinical stage cannabinoid company, Botanix Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX: BOT) is committed to the development of pharmaceutical products backed by well-managed randomised clinical trials and underpinned by science. The company emphasises on the development of topical treatments that are effective and safe for skin conditions like acne, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. The company also has a development platform of antimicrobial drug candidates.
On 15th July 2019, the company announced exciting new data from its recently conducted studies related to a new development program ‘AB 2367’ and cannabidiol antimicrobial platform. The data showed that AB 2367 has influential activity against hypervirulent strains (veterinary and human) of C. difficile. The data also demonstrated that cannabidiol is effective against the super hypervirulent epidemic strain 027.
The financial results for the half-year ending 31 December 2018 were released by the company in February this year. The revenue of the company from the ordinary activities was 163 per cent up to $4.7 million from $1.8 million reported in pcp. The loss of the company after income tax for the half-year widened 77 per cent to $4.2 million from $2.3 million in pcp.
BOT closed flat on the ASX today at AUD 0.230. The stock opened the trading session at AUD 0.22, fluctuating between a day’s high and low value of AUD 0.23 and AUD 0.22, respectively during the intraday session. Performing exceptionally well in the past, the stock has delivered a return of 187.67 per cent on a YTD basis.
CLINUVEL PHARMACEUTICALS LTD
An Australian-headquartered global biopharmaceutical company, CLINUVEL PHARMACEUTICALS LTD (ASX: CUV) focusses on the development and delivery of treatments for patients with severe genetic and skin disorders. The company’s R&D has helped it develop innovative treatments for patients needing repigmentation and photoprotection.
The company informed in June 2019 that the US Food and Drug Administration’s DDDP (Division of Dermatology and Dental Products) has set a new PDUFA (Prescription Drug User Fee Act) goal date of 6th October 2019 for the company’s drug SCENESSE®. The expected date to provide commentary on the company’s post-marketing authorisation commitments and product labelling was also revised by FDA to 6th September 2019.
The company achieved positive financial results for the half-year period ending 31 December 2018 with an improvement of 189 per cent in its net profit to $4.076m on pcp. The revenue and earnings per share grew 27 per cent and 188 per cent to $8.981 million and $0.085, respectively during the period.
The company’s stock closed at AUD 32.880 today on ASX, down by 1.11 per cent relative to the last closed price. The market capitalisation of CUV was recorded at AUD 1.62 billion at the time of writing the report. CUV’s performance in the past has been exceptionally well as it has delivered a return of 83.94 per cent on a YTD basis.
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