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Oncimmune extends work with Roche on immuno-therapy biomarkers

Snapshot

  • EarlyCDT test met primary endpoint in lung cancer study
  • Has European CE mark approval for the EarlyCDT- Lung test
  • Deal with US firm for EarlyCDT
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Quick facts: Oncimmune

Price: 108 GBX

AIM:ONC
Market: AIM
Market Cap: £68.58 m
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What the company does

Oncimmune PLC (LON:ONC) is a specialist in the field of immunodiagnostics.

Specifically, its technology detects evidence of the body's natural response to cancer, enabling detection four years or more before standard clinical diagnosis.

Founded in 2002, it launched its platform technology in 2009, followed by its first commercial tests - EarlyCDT-Lung and EarlyCDT-Liver.

EarlyCDT-Lung was used in the largest-ever trial for the early detection of lung cancer using biomarkers - the National Health Service's Early Cancer Detection Test-Lung Cancer Scotland (ECLS) study of 12,210 high-risk smokers in Scotland.

Oncimmune also develops precision medicine and patient tools that allow doctors to place people being treated for cancer and autoimmune diseases into certain patient sub-groups, a process called stratification.

 

How it is doing

In April, a review by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on Oncimmune's EarlyCDT Lung test concluded that it can successfully aid early diagnosis of lung cancer in high-risk patients.

NICE’s advice states that the test enables earlier and accurate diagnosis of lung cancer in high-risk patients which could mean intervention is offered early.

The firm has clinched a five-year US$28mln partnership with Biodesix Inc to sell its EarlyCDT lung test as Notify Lung for use by doctors in identifying nodules at high risk of lung cancer.

It will be offered in the US, the world's largest healthcare market, alongside Biodesix’s Notify XL2 product via a national sales force plugged directly into pulmonologists and, corporately, into national hospital systems.

As would be expected of a company in the formative stages of commercial development, Oncimmune was loss-making. The comprehensive loss for the six months to November 30 was just under £5.8mln. Revenues of £310,000 were almost three times those of a year ago. As at the period-end, the firm had just over £7.5mln in cash.

In May, the company signed its largest contract to date with Swiss pharma giant Roche to profile auto-antibodies in patient samples collected during cancer immunotherapy trials.

The contract involves a substantial upfront payment, added the AIM-listed group 

What the boss says: Adam Hill, chief executive

"On behalf of the 35,000 people in the UK who lose their lives each year to lung cancer, we welcome the findings of this NICE review and its consequential advice to all NHS England clinicians, managers and procurement professionals."

"Our EarlyCDT Lung test offers the opportunity to find lung cancer at the very earliest stage with a simple, non-invasive blood test. We are ready to work with the NHS to make this test available to anyone who has a risk of developing lung cancer thereby enabling them to get treatment earlier and improve their chances of recovery and survival."

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Inflexion points

  • In January, Oncimmune joined a consortium of leading companies, charities and academics researching the early detection of liver cancer brought together by the Oxford Centre for Early Cancer Detection (OxCODE)
  • A report has showed the EarlyCDT Lung product is more cost-effective than the current method of diagnosis - computed tomography (CT) surveillance.
  • Contract with Roch for immune profiling of cancer patients

What the broker says

Analysts at finnCap commented: "The US is one (of) the largest addressable markets in the world, and Biodesix has a direct US national sales force who sell direct into pulmonologists and corporately into national hospital systems. Oncimmune is progressing with active discussions with NHS England partners.

"Together with the expected publication of supportive health economic data, regulatory clearance in Russia and filing in China by its partners in H1 CY 2020, this should build momentum in what is clearly an unmet market need."

finnCap has a target price of 150p on Oncimmune.

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