Biotech: It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme judging by these HY reports
Health & Biotech
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We’re deep into half-year reporting season and a swarm of medical companies opened their books to investors overnight.
Being biotechs, some don’t make money and many of those never will either, if they can’t get the drug or device they’re developing to work.
Others are well on the revenue pathway.
This company is developing treatments that spur the body’s immune system to fight cancer. It technically doesn’t make money per se, booking a $6m loss, but does earn money from other companies it has licensed drugs to.
In the half year, Immutep earned a milestone payment of $7.4m from GlaxoSmithKline, which dosed its first patient in a phase II clinical trial evaluating a treatment derived from an Immutep antibody in ulcerative colitis.
Immutep has licensed drugs to Novartis, CYTLIMIC, and Chinese company EOC Pharma.
Pharmaceuticals seller Mayne Pharma reported lower numbers across all metrics. Revenue was down 17 per cent, EBITDA dropped by 47 per cent, its loss widened to $17.5m, and even underlying EBITDA and operating cashflow fell too.
CEO Scott Richards said as previously foreshadowed at the AGM the company had faced aggressive competition on its key generic products in the US. Mayne Pharma cut costs by $10m and dumped some generic products.
Richards is hopeful a new oral contraceptive the company has acquired will help it bounce back.
IVF provider Monash also hasn’t had a great half, with all key numbers down: revenue dipped to $77m, profit dropped 15 per cent to just under $10m, all forms of EBITDA and EBIT (there are a few ways to spin those numbers) are also lower .
IVF is a hyper competitive market in Australia. Undercut by cheap operators, who were allowed into the market a few years ago, and with strong rivals in the biggest regions of NSW, Queensland and Victoria, there aren’t many ways to claw back market share or grow without going overseas.
Tasmania and South Australia performed well for Monash in the half, and more women are wanting expensive genetic screening. But even the company’s foray into Malaysia delivered bad news as the number of stimulated cycles women undertook fell.
Cynata is trying to cure disease with stem cells. Japanese company Sumitomo tried to buy it for $2-a-share in the half, but they couldn’t agree on terms and the talks fizzled.
The company made money in the quarter because FUJIFILM Corporation paid $US3m to exercise a long-awaited licence option for a treatment for graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), a rare condition when donor bone marrow or stem cells attack their new host. However, Cynata made a $2.5m loss and has $5.9m in cash at the end of calendar 2019.
Cynata has three phase two clinical trials expected to start in 2020 for osteoarthritis, critical limb ischemia and GvHD. It’s also looking at sepsis, coronary artery disease, and organ transplant rejection.
Another stem cell biotech, Exopharm listed in the prior corresponding half, so its figures are not as simple to compare.
Revenue rose 6,239 per cent to $39,494, although this is entirely from interest on money in the bank, and its loss widened to $3.7m.
The company mainly spent its money on R&D and employees.
The Alzheimer’s cure researcher has had to dig deep into its data following a spectacular failure of a phase two trial in May.
In the last half, Actinogen found its lead drug Xanamem produced a statistically significant clinical effect on improving cognition in healthy elderly patients at 20mg daily (rather than the lower dose in the phase two trial).
Without a clinical trial underway the loss fell from $7m to $4m, while R&D costs halved.