Four ASX-Listed Cancer Stocks- IMM, KZA, SDX and TLX Under Spotlight

  • Jan 24, 2020 AEDT
  • Team Kalkine
Four ASX-Listed Cancer Stocks- IMM, KZA, SDX and TLX Under Spotlight

Widespread prevalence of cancer, globally, has led to soaring demand for effective cancer therapies, consequently, the oncology drug market is expected to register strong growth over the coming years.

Cancer therapies can be described as the treatments or drugs that inhibit growth and proliferation of cancer, by interfering with DNA or proteins involved in the growth or development of malignant cells. These therapies include surgical procedure, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, among others.

Cancer treatment/therapy depends upon the stages of the disease progression. While chemotherapy is mainly used in the earlier stages, other therapy alternatives such as immunological therapy drugs and targeted therapy drugs are used in late stage of disease.

Key Indicators for Market Growth

Some of the important factors accountable for the growth of oncology/cancer drugs market include industry’s increased focus on cancer research, an upsurge in aging population and increase in healthcare spending across the globe. Moreover, rise in collaborations among pharmaceutical firms and Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) offered by pharma companies (providing free or low-cost prescription drugs) is expected to fuel the oncology/cancer drugs market in the future.

Nonetheless, mounting expenditure associated with cancer drug development and harmful effects from the use of cancer drugs are the key considerations that hamper the market growth.

Cancer Drug Market Segments

The global oncology drug market can be sub-divided into several segments, based on the type of drug class and indication. Some of them have been listed in the below image.

The target therapy segment which is focused on cancer cells is getting huge industry attention and is expected to register the highest growth. Under the indication segments, the breast cancer segment is likely to account for a major market size, primarily attributed to the elevated & constantly escalating occurrence of breast cancer worldwide.

North America, which boasts the largest economy of the world (US), is the leading cancer therapy market and is believed to maintain its dominating market dominance, owing to the enhanced adoption of cancer therapy, in the future as well.

Competitive Scenario

Being a highly competitive market, the global oncology/drugs market involves several major players. Since cancer R&D involves huge investmnets, majorly big pharma players are catering to the market.

However, with significant technological advancements and innovative product inventions, small to mid-cap businesses are also upgrading their market presence, via launching novel products at stingier costs.

Cancer Research in Australia

With a target to address some of the biggest unmet needs in the world including different forms of cancer, Australian pharmaceutical companies are deeply engaged in research and drug development.

Cancer research and therapeutic development programs that involve various approaches to address cancer, different set of IP (intellectual property) and encouraging effects seen so far justify this sector as one of the most fascinating ones in the Australian life science industry. Even though the road from drug clinical trials to its actual use is time-consuming and fraught with potential threats, cancer therapy is an area attracting investors’ interest to pour in money.

Let’s now discuss some of the major ASX-listed cancer stocks, highlighting their key focus, key product candidates and stock performance.

Immutep Limited (ASX:IMM)

Immutep Limited (ASX:IMM) is a global leader engaged in developing immunotherapeutic products for the cancer & autoimmune disorders. The company is committed to leveraging its innovative technology and expertise, bringing to the market groundbreaking treatment alternatives and expanding value to stockholders.

eftilagimod alpha or “efti” or “IMP321”- Immutep’s current lead product candidate eftilagimod alpha is a soluble LAG-3Ig fusion protein centred on the LAG-3 immune control mechanism, which plays a crucial role in the T cell immune response regulation. At present, the product is in Phase IIb clinical trial, named AIPAC, with the product being designed as a chemoimmunotherapy targeted towards patients with metastatic breast cancer. Near-Term phase II clinical data for eftilagimod alpha is expected in 2020.

Source: Company Presentation

With a market capitalisation standing at around $113.57 million and nearly 391.63 million outstanding shares, the IMM stock settled the day’s trade at $0.285 on 24 January 2020. IMM generated a positive return of 31.82% on a six-month basis.

Kazia Therapeutics Limited (ASX: KZA)

Sydney, Australia headquartered Kazia Therapeutics Limited (ASX: KZA) is an innovative biotechnology company with its prime focus on oncology and robust product pipeline that includes six ongoing clinical trials across two assets. The company is aimed at developing innovative therapies across an array of oncology indications with its lead program covering the entire range of brain cancers.

GDC-0084GDC-0084 is being developed to cure the most widespread and most destructive kind of leading brain cancer in adults, glioblastoma multiforme. GDC-0084 represents Kazia’s lead program.

TRX-E-002-1 (Cantrixil)- Cantrixil is under development for the treatment of ovarian cancer. It is a 3rd generation benzopyran molecule, which is currently undergoing a phase I clinical trial in two regions - Australia and the US. In April 2015, the US FDA granted Cantrixil with the orphan designation for ovarian cancer.

Source: Company Presentation

With a market capitalisation standing at around $44.02 million and nearly 72.17 million outstanding shares, the KZA stock settled the day’s trade at $0.600 on 24 January 2020. KZA generated a positive return of 52.50% on a six-month basis.

Sienna Cancer Diagnostics Ltd. (ASX: SDX)

Sienna Cancer Diagnostics Ltd. is an Australian based medical technology company with operations in the US and Australia. The company develops and commercialises a portfolio of diagnostic tests employing its patented platforms enabling early, precise diagnosis of cancer. Sienna has established a robust product pipeline intended for sustainable long-term growth.

Sienna distributes its products in several countries around the world including the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia regions with the foresight to safeguard a vital place for the development as well as commercialisation of in-vitro diagnostic tests for the global pathology market.

Sienna’s product portfolio includes two existing technologies, SIEN-NETTM & hTERT -

  • SIEN-NETTM is a biological purification platform
  • hTERT is a diagnostic test for a unique cancer biomarker that helps in early bladder cancer detection.

The company’s growth strategy includes commercialisation of SIEN-NET™ & EXO-NET™, to acquire other platform technologies, growing hTERT franchise via market share growth & expansion at a geographical scale.

With a market capitalisation standing at around $15.41 million and nearly 395.13 million outstanding shares, the SDX stock settled the day’s trade at $0.039 on 24 January 2020. SDX generated a positive return of 18.18% on a one-month basis.

Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX:TLX)

Melbourne-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm with operations in the United States, Japan and Belgium, Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX:TLX) has prime focus on the development of diagnostic & therapeutic, clinical-stage oncology products portfolio leveraging Molecularly Targeted Radiation (MTR) to address the unmet medical needs concerning renal, prostate & brain cancer.

In an announcement dated 23 January 2020, the company revealed to have received the US Food and Drug Administration approval for the ZIRCON (Zirconium Imaging in Renal Cancer Oncology) study for the enrolment of American patients. The receipt of an Investigational New Drug (IND) notice of allowance would facilitate patient enrolment to commence in the US in thirty days.

ZIRCON is an international Phase III study, designed for the evaluation of the effectiveness of TLX250-CDx (89Zr-girentuximab) for the imaging of ccRCC (clear cell renal cell cancer) using PET (Positron Emission Tomography).

This study seeks to enrol around 250 patients and presently the recruitment is happening at nineteen sites within Australia and Europe. The IND allowance in the United States would add up to a further six top cancer facilities in the country. The company expects to complete the enrolment around mid-year.

Dr. Christian Behrenbruch, Telix Chief Executive Officer was pleased to state that receipt of an IND is deemed a key milestone for the company in terms of progressing the ZIRCON study as well as commitment with US regulators for a late-stage trial. Dr. Christian further mentioned that Telix’ management is enthused to be adding American patients to the study. Further, he thanked Telix’ North American manufacturing and pharmacy collaborators, Isologic & Cardinal Health for offering support with this submission.

With a market capitalisation standing at around $379.92 million and nearly 253.28 million outstanding shares, TLX settled the day’s trade at $1.520 on 24 January 2020. TLX generated a negative return of 1.64% on year-to-date basis.

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