As neuroscience blurs the line between tech and biology, these ASX brain health stocks are on the frontline
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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Recent advances in our still-shallow understanding of the human brain have led to a renewed interest in companies that focus on neuroscience.
The most famous neuroscience startup, Elon Musk’s Neuralink, is probably the first company that comes to mind in this space.
Neuralink recently released a video of a monkey implanted with a Neuralink chip playing a version of the game Pong with its mind.
Obviously, it went viral.
Monkey plays Pong with his mind https://t.co/35NIFm4C7T
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2021
The company’s goal is to eventually create “high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.”
Another story that went viral was a study from the Journal of Neuroscience, who suggested that our brain activity may be a better predictor of stock price changes than prior market trends.
According to that study, scientists were able to accurately forecast market price changes (up or down), based on the average brain activity among a group of people.
As these technologies develop, we’re seeing more and more the blurring of the line between computers and biology.
On the ASX, there are companies that focus on the brain – ranging from self-assesment apps, brain cancer fighters, to pure play technologies that try to mimic the brain itself.
Patrys (ASX:PAB) is one example of an ASX company that fights brain cancer.
The company announced yesterday that new preclinical data for its deoxymab antibody, PAT-DX1, has been published in a leading, peer-reviewed journal The Journal of Clinical Investigation—Insight.
The data, which was obtained from studies conducted in three different animal models, demonstrated the ability of Patrys’ PAT-DX1 antibody to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), and significantly inhibit the growth of both primary and secondary cancers in the brain.
The company said it is now on track for the first human study of PAT-DX1, pencilled in for the first half of 2022.
Using sensor technology embedded in the mouthguard, HitIQ’s device measures the biomechanics of the head and uses motion detection to quantify head impact forces.
It raised $10m from investors at 20c per share, and closed the first day of trading at 26c, a 30 per cent gain.
While HitIQ has gained early traction with elite sports leagues, it says the longer-term vision is to leverage that data into a broader healthcare platform solution around concussion prevention and rehabilitation.
The company has a product called NouKNOW in Japan, a digital tool for self-assessment of brain performance based on the cognitive tests. For this product, it has a strategic partnership with Japanese-based Esai, who in turn is partnered with Biogen.
Cogstate also owns a digital cognitive testing tool called Cognigram, an FDA compliant medical device that’s intended to aid healthcare professionals with rapid assessment of cognition in individuals aged 6–99 years old.
Actinogen (ASX:ACW) surged by 70 per cent in a just a fortnight, after announcing the progression of its clinical development program to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
The company is about to commence the first part of the XanaMIA study after receiving approval from the Bellberry Human Research Ethics Committee.
Kazia Therapeutics (ASX:KZA) is another brain cancer play that has just announced collaboration with the Joan & Sanford I Weill Medical College of Cornell University in the US, to launch a phase II clinical study of Kazia’s investigational new drug, paxalisib, to treat glioblastoma.
Glioblastoma is a tumour that occurs in the brain, and is formed from cells called astrocytes that support nerve cells.
Brainchip (ASX:BRN), meanwhile, says it has developed a revolutionary, artificial intelligence-based computer chip that can process data like a human brain.
Excitement about its Akida AKD1000 AI microchips has pushed Brainchip’s market cap from below $200m just a year ago to near $1 billion at present.
The company says the number of applications that will require AI-based microchips by 2025 will include drones, automobiles, mobile phones, and industrial sectors, and will be worth $60 billion.
At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While HitIQ is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.