- Small-cap healthcare sector players securing a niche have the potential to develop much faster than large-cap stocks.
- Immutep disclosed interim results for two ongoing trials, TACTI-002 Phase II trial and INSIGHT-004 Phase I clinical trial.
- With the acquisition of Ascot Radiology, Integral Diagnostics set to expand in New Zealand.
- Atomo Diagnostics expands partnership with NG Biotech and secures exclusive rights for diagnosis of COVID-19.
Small-cap stocks are listed companies with market capitalisation varying from USD 300 million to USD 2 billion or less. And in these stocks, there are plenty of promising investment opportunities. Despite their smaller size, small-cap stocks have substantial growth potential and have the capability of growing in market value in a short span.
Australian stock market offers several tremendous opportunities for investing in leading healthcare players. However, many stocks are not covered by analysts and have a lot of scope for the investors to generate a significant return. The investors generally consider investing in small-cap space, since the universe of these stocks is vast.
In this article, we will discuss three small-cap healthcare stocks- IMM, IMC and AT1
Immutep Disclosed Interim Results for Two Ongoing Studies
ASX-listed globally active biotechnology company Immutep Limited (ASX:IMM) is a leader in developing LAG-3 related immunotherapeutic medicines for treating autoimmune disease and cancer. The Company is committed to leveraging its expertise and technology to bring innovative treatments for patients as well as to maximise shareholders value.
The current lead product candidate of Immutep eftilagimod alpha, also called fetid or IMP321 is a soluble LAG-3 protein based on the LAG-3 immune control mechanism.
On 1 June 2020, Immutep disclosed new interim data from its ongoing Phase II TACTI-002 study and INSIGHT-004 Phase I clinical trial.
Phase II TACTI-002 study
Immutep is gradually progressing the Phase II TACTI-002 clinical study in collaboration with Merck & Co. The study is evaluating the combination of the lead product candidate eftilagimod alpha of Immutep and KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) of Merck in nearly 109 patients with second-line head and neck squamous cell carcinoma or non-small cell lung cancer in the first and second line.
So far, the combination treatment has been reported to be safe and well-tolerated without any new safety indications recorded.
INSIGHT-004 Phase I Clinical Trial
The study is a Phase I trial evaluating the combination of eftilagimod alpha with a human anti-PD-L1 antibody avelumab, in 12 patients having solid tumours. This Phase I clinical study is being conducted by the Institute of Clinical Cancer Research (ICCR) in Germany.
INSIGHT-004 Phase I clinical trial is currently being performed under Immutep’s partnership with Merck KGaA, and Pfizer Inc. With this trial, the safety, tolerability, and recommended Phase II dose of efti when given in combination with avelumab will be evaluated.
Interim findings from the first cohort in the study demonstrate that the treatment combination of eftilagimod alpha and avelumab is well-tolerated without any dose-limiting toxicities, building on the strong safety profile of eftilagimod alpha.
Moreover, the Company notified that the safety data from cohort two would be disclosed in coming months.
On 11 June 2020, IMM stock was trading at AUD 0.157 (at 2:18 PM AEST), down by 4.848% from its previous close. With the market cap of nearly AUD 80.46 million, the stock has ~487.63 million outstanding shares on ASX.
Integral Diagnostics Acquires Ascot Radiology, to expand in New Zealand
ASX-listed leading provider of medical imaging services, Integral Diagnostics Limited (ASX:IDX) provides its services across Australia and New Zealand. The Company offers state of the art diagnostic services at 64 radiology clinics, including 20 hospital sites.
On 10 June 2020, Integral Diagnostics disclosed that the Company had acquired Auckland, New Zealand-headquartered Ascot Radiology. Ascot Radiology is highly complementary to the existing New Zealand business of IDX.
Integral Diagnostics anticipates to complete this acquisition in September 2020 and would be funded by current debt facilities. This acquisition includes several diagnostic imaging clinics, with main sites at Ascot Private Hospital, as well as deals with 22 doctors working across private and public sectors.
On 10 June 2020, Integral Diagnostics provided a market update on the impact of COVID-19. The Company disclosed that during the restriction period in April, patient revenue of IDX dropped against pre-COVID-19 anticipation by 24% to 50% across business units.
As restrictions were eased, the patient revenue began to improve in May, and at the beginning of June, it has been positive with patient revenue continuing to improve in most sites steadily. Although, the future level of recovery remains dependent on uncertain future events, including potential COVID-19 infections as well as the response by the government.
IDX stock was trading at AUD 4.130, down by 2.594% on 11 June 2020 (at 2:18 PM AEST). With the market cap of nearly AUD 825.46 million, the stock has almost 194.68 million outstanding shares on ASX.
Atomo Diagnostics Expands with Exclusive Rights to test COVID-19
ASX-listed Atomo Diagnostics Limited (ASX:AT1) is engaged in providing medical devices for the blood-based rapid test, intended for specialised use and self-test functions. The advanced RDT platforms of Atomo are easy to use, streamlining processes, alleviating frequent user errors, and enhancing test performance.
On 4 June 2020, the Company disclosed that Atomo and NG Biotech, a French in vitro diagnostic specialist, expanded their COVID-19 partnership. With this extension, Atomo Diagnostics, as the listed manufacturer, had now secured the exclusive rights to market and distribute COVID-19 antibody diagnostic test in Australia, South East Asia, and New Zealand.
For providing support during the coronavirus crisis, Atomo Diagnostics and NG Biotech had teamed up in March 2020.
The rapid test, ‘NG-TEST® IgG-IgM COVID-19 All-in-One’ employs the incorporated rapid diagnostic test platform - AtomoRapid™ Galileo for better safety and efficiency.
In Europe, Atomo was granted the CE Mark authorisation for AtomoRapid™ Galileo for professional use. Every single-usage disposable test needs a single drop of blood from the fingertip and offers an outcome that can be interpreted with ease in less than 15 minutes. NG Biotech will distribute this test kit by Atomo across Europe.
In the battle against COVID-19, Atomo has obtained special rights for the COVID-19 antibody test across multiple geographies, via its extended COVID-19 rapid test collaboration with NG Biotech. Under the broadened partnership, the listed manufacturer Atomo has sole rights to market and supply the COVID-19 antibody test in New Zealand and Australia, with the brand name of ‘AtomoRapidTM COVID-19 (IgG/IgM)’.
Notably, in a study conducted by Hospital Bicêtre, Bacteriologie Hygiene in France, the antibody-based COVID-19 test of Atomo demonstrated complete (100%) specificity.
On 11 June 2020, AT1 stock was trading at AUD 0.310 (at 2:18 PM AEST), in line with its previous close. The Company has a market capitalisation of nearly AUD 173.93 million and ~561.08 million shares outstanding on the ASX.