Special report: Perth-based investor Merchant Group has quietly lifted its stake in Rhythm Biosciences again, this time to 8.1 per cent.

The fund became a substantial shareholder in the biotech (ASX:RHY) in June, building its position to 7.01 per cent.

It joins a register that includes mining identify Tolga Kumova, CSIRO, the chief financial and operating officer of prominent New York investment manager Terra Capital Partners, Gregory Pinkus.

Merchant invested via its specialist life sciences arm the Opportunities Fund, a successful and long-term investor in companies close to commercialisation.

Other prominent investments by the fund include Sienna Cancer Diagnostics (ASX:SDX), medical marijuana researcher Zelda Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD), drone company Parazero (ASX:PRZ), and is reforming tech-wreck 1-Page into a successful European cannabis company.

Rhythm Biosciences’ appeal is a technology targeted at providing inexpensive blood tests which can more accurately screen patients for colon cancer.

The company is two years away from commercialising the ColoSTAT test which, instead of testing for blood in stool samples, looks for biomarkers in blood that are produced by the cancer itself.

Linking these concentrations via a proprietary algorithm gives a colorectal cancer risk score. A higher score means a patient should get a colonoscopy, a lower one means the person should re-screen in two years’ time.

The company has a major prospective clinical trial planned in early 2019 to assess the ability of ColoSTAT to detect colorectal cancer that will be key to the company’s applications for regulatory approval in Europe and Australia, to be lodged late 2019 or early 2020.


This special report is brought to you by Rhythm Biosciences.

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