It was with some surprise earlier this month that languishing mouth spray biotech Suda Pharmaceuticals (ASX:SUD) announced that it had signed serial Australian entrepreneur Paul Hopper as its new chairman.

Surprising because Hopper last year sold cancer drug company Viralytics to big pharma for half a billion dollars. Suda, however, has a market cap of $13 million and shares worth well less than one cent.

But, as Hopper told Stockhead this morning, the tiny company is a “treasure chest” with big market potential.

“I was approached to become chairman, and I do get approached here and there, but most of the time it’s designed to use me to raise money for them,” he said.

“I spent quite a bit of time looking into Suda as medical devices is not something I am as familiar with, and their market cap is extremely small.

“But as I delved into it I found a treasure chest. You turn stones over and there are some amazing nuggets in there.”

Suda is a drug delivery company with a technology called OroMist. It reformulates existing drugs and then administers them as a spray through the mouth, direct to the cheeks, gums, palate or under the tongue, which ensures better absorption into the bloodstream.

Currently it has ZolpiMist, an oral spray of zolpidem for insomnia, approved in the US, and others in development for the treatment of migraines, nausea, erectile dysfunction, pulmonary arterial hypertension, cancer, malaria and anxiety.

“There are dozens of drugs out there that could be reformulated,” Hopper told Stockhead. “There is a lot of potential for the stock to be re-rated.

“It’s a fairly simple value proposition, taking generic drugs that are already approved, many of them being blockbuster drugs already known by the big companies, and then being able to reformulate them into a spray.”

Hopper also pointed to existing deals Suda has done with big pharma companies as proof of its potential, saying it now needed better marketing.

“The story is not well understood and we need to tell it better,” he said. “In my experience, half your life as a biotech person is getting out on the pavement, kissing babies, going to the opening of a door to tell your story, and we need a bit more of that Suda, and that’s where I come in,” he said.

In other ASX health and biotech news this morning

Antisense Therapeutics (ASX:ANP) completes trial enrolment. Shares jumped  34 per cent to 6.7c this morning on news the company had finished enrolling patients into its Phase II clinical trial testing its immunomodulatory therapy ATL1102 in patients with duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Starpharma’s (ASX:SPL) drug looks effective in treating colon cancer. Its patented nanoparticle formulation, DEP® irinotecan, showed significant efficacy and safety benefits over leading colorectal cancer drugs in a human colon cancer model. Shares rose 11 per cent to $1.43.