Yesterday, Stockhead reviewed the small caps that are devising treatments to fight cancer. There are also a handful of small caps that are seeking to help with diagnostics.

In other words these small caps are either seeking to identify the disease earlier or work out a better treatment option.

 

The testers

Rhythm Biosciences (ASX:RHY) wants  to commercialise a CSIRO-designed test to detect bowel cancer. The hope is the test will do a better job than colonoscopies or the current faecal test for a lower cost and higher compliance rate.

“If you detect it [cancer] early, there’s a 90 per cent chance of survival. You don’t have to go through that pain of late stage treatment,” CEO Glen Gilbert explained at an investor lunch last September.

“And once you’ve got late stage cancer, its expensive to treat. It costs tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars – it’s a huge emotional and financial burden, but also for the healthcare system.”

Invitrocue (ASX:IVQ) has a test to see which cancer treatments will work best on individual patients. It works by taking a portion of a patient’s tissue and making it into a cellular structure that proposed treatments are conducted on.

It began as a spin-off from the Singapore government’s science arm, which remains a shareholder. However, it has been suspended for nearly six months now.

Genetic Technologies (ASX:GTG), which is up 34 per cent in 12 months, has a test for breast cancer which focuses on individual genes.

Earlier this month it told shareholders the test would be released commercially in the US by the end of this quarter as well as in Australia.

Sienna Cancer Diagnostics’ (ASX:SDX) focus is on bladder cancer and its goal is to reduce the number of urine tests undertaken for cancer detection (approximately a quarter) which are indeterminate.

It is also working on a liquid biopsy sample preparation technology, SIEN-NET, which it acquired last year.

 

The top performers

Of the ASX’s cancer diagnostics stocks, Volpara Health Technologies (ASX:VHT) has seen the best 12 months, gaining 56 per cent.

The New Zealand-based company has developed breast cancer imaging technology that can detect tumours earlier than current standards.

The next best performer, Bard1 Life Sciences (ASX:BD1), has been on a roller coaster ride in recent years but currently stands 40 per cent higher than a year ago.

Similar to Rhythm Biosciences, it is developing a blood test that can detect cancers, specifically ovarian and breast cancer.

 

Lung imagers

One common type of cancer is lung cancer and there’s a small cap for that too.

The ASX’s sole company in lung imaging now is Cyclopharm (ASX:CYC). Its technology detects pulmonary embolus, an artery blockage which is a symptom of cancer and a deadly disease in its own right.

Some time this year another lung imager will join Cyclopharm on the bourse — 4dX, which passed a major clinical trial last year.

Code Name Price (I) 1 Year % Return Market Cap
VHT VOLPARA HEALTH TECHNOLOGIES 1.845 56 $402.8M
BD1 BARD1 LIFE SCIENCES LTD 0.032 40 $43.8M
GTG GENETIC TECHNOLOGIES LTD 0.01 34 $40.6M
CYC CYCLOPHARM LTD 1.27 25 $99.4M
RHY RHYTHM BIOSCIENCES LTD 0.105 -25 $10.6M
SDX SIENNA CANCER DIAGNOSTICS LTD 0.039 -35 $13.4M
LSH LIFESPOT HEALTH LTD 0.029 -57 $2.3M
IVQ INVITROCUE 0.06 -20 $34.7M

 

Now Read: The war against cancer will be fought better with improved decision making tools, says one small cap

Listen to: Health Kick Podcast: What’s holding back better breast cancer detection? And how is Volpara’s tech changing the game