Two years after Genetic Technologies (ASX:GTG) began its escapade into blockchain and away from breast cancer risk testing, the company has fully re-embraced the latter and ditched the former.

The company “is pleased to announce” its Australian lab for making its third generation breast cancer test is almost done, and sales are to start from January next year.

They are currently “looking to secure” six clinics in Victoria, and six in NSW where test kits can be bought. Genetic Technologies shareholders will get a two-for-one deal.


Breast to blockchain and back

Genetic Technologies has undergone a few different iterations, but come 2017 had developed a breast cancer risk test called BREVAGenplus based on the BRCA gene — the one that prompted Angelina Jolie to undergo a preventative double mastectomy.

Difficulties in selling the test meant the board was poised to sell itself as a corporate shell by late 2017, before a group of investors began a campaign to topple the board.

In January 2018, they succeeded.

The new board poo-pooed the BRCA gene-based BREVAGenplus breast cancer risk test, which the company had struggled to sell in 2017.

“GTG has to date incurred significant losses in its attempts to establish the BREVAGenplus nonhereditary breast cancer risk assessment test and the board has assessed that BREVAGenplus in its current state is unlikely to lead to a material increase in GTG’s fundamental value,” the company said in January 2018.

The new board conjured up a blockchain-based medical data management concept instead.

Late 2017 was when the last blockchain wave of consumer popularity rolled around the world, as Bitcoin peaked at over $20,000. The wave, and any stocks associated with it, petered out in February 2018.

Genetic Technologies tried for two years to find a blockchain project. It finally called time on several deals they’d announced, in August this year.

“GTG intends to remain focused on its core genetic testing business activities and are not currently considering any blockchain related projects,” the company said.


A risk test

In May, the two new Genetype tests were announced for breast and colon cancer, sending the share price up 71 per cent.

As opposed to the single BRCA gene test, the new tests provide a polygenic risk score, a number which counts the cumulative effects of a number of genes. They are comparatively cheap to run, now the costs for individual genetic testing have come down.

The risk tests are not diagnostic tests, but give a risk factor over periods of time and give people the opportunity to plan their lives accordingly.

Genetic Technologies is pitching the testing kit at 35-50 year olds, the age at which government-funded testing for breast and colon cancer kicks in.


In other ASX health news:

Brain cancer biotech Kazia Therapeutics’ (ASX:KZA) lead program, GDC-0084, has been selected to join GBM AGILE, an international, academic-led, multi-drug adaptive phase II/III study in glioblastoma.

Probiotec (ASX:PBP) is acquiring the assets of pharmaceutical contract packer Contract Pharmaceutical Services of Australia for $4m. The deal includes current business contracts and packing formats including foil, carded and clamshell blister packing, bottle filling, labelling, secondary packaging and additional services for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries.

Asthma biotech Adherium (ASX:ADR) is raising $5.4m to develop more features that can be reimbursed by insurers, and extend its portfolio of products.

AFT Pharmaceuticals (ASX:AFP) has signed an exclusive distribution agreement for the registration and commercialisation of non-opioid painkiller Maxigesic in Indonesia with Jakarta-based PT Dankos Farma.

Doggy cancer curer PharmAust (ASX:PAA) has expanded site recruitment for its anti-cancer trial in pet dogs with treatment naïve B cell lymphoma. The pace of recruitment of canine patients is expected to be increased by an extra two sites.