With the health and life science sector being the ASX’s top performer last year, Western Australia is keen to join the party.

The state government has formed an Industry Reference Group to come up with a five-year growth plan for the industry over the coming months.

The group will be chaired by WA Chief Scientist Peter Klinken. Among its panel members is Michael Winlo from Emerald Clinics, which is listing on the ASX within days.

Health Minister Roger Cook said Perth was becoming one of Australia’s top life sciences hubs, but he wanted to take things further.

“We have a fantastic opportunity to further support our local health and medical life sciences industry which continues to deliver world-leading innovations that improve health outcomes for people in our state and globally,” he said.

“This plan will complement a range of existing initiatives and strategies, including the Sustainable Health Review’s priority to foster a culture of innovation in the WA health system to deliver better patient care.”

 

WA biotech small caps

There are nearly 30 biotech small caps on the ASX with headquarters or operations in WA.

Code Name Price 1 Year % Return Market Cap
OCC ORTHOCELL LTD 0.49 226.67 90.33M
IHL IMPRESSION HEALTHCARE LTD 0.06 221.05 43.15M
RAC RACE ONCOLOGY LTD 0.27 211.76 28.92M
RHT RESONANCE HEALTH LTD 0.21 187.67 90.49M
RAP RESAPP HEALTH LTD 0.25 155.32 167.10M
RCE RECCE PHARMACEUTICALS LTD 0.38 153.33 51.02M
PAA PHARMAUST LTD 0.1 151.57 31.71M
PYC PYC THERAPEUTICS LTD 0.06 117.86 178.82M
AHZ ADMEDUS LTD 0.08 110.26 48.45M
MDR MEDADVISOR LTD 0.52 107.98 121.74M
IMU IMUGENE LTD 0.03 77.78 141.63M
BD1 BARD1 LIFE SCIENCES LTD 0.03 51.25 45.12M
BPH BPH ENERGY LTD 0.001 0 3.34M
ZLD ZELIRA THERAPEUTICS LTD 0.06 -6.9 47.22M
NSB NEUROSCIENTIFIC BIOPHARMACEU 0.17 -11.11 12.54M
BOT BOTANIX PHARMACEUTICALS LTD 0.09 -13 84.62M
MXC MGC PHARMACEUTICALS LTD 0.03 -20 43.88M
NC6 NANOLLOSE LTD 0.07 -23.6 5.10M
HMD HERAMED LTD 0.17 -23.91 18.06M
PIQ PROTEOMICS INTERNATIONAL LAB 0.28 -27.27 25.73M
AJJ ASIAN AMERICAN MEDICAL GROUP 0.08 -31.67 28.52M
SUD SUDA PHARMACEUTICALS LTD 0.05 -53.68 7.82M
CPH CRESO PHARMA LTD 0.15 -63.86 27.62M
NTI NEUROTECH INTERNATIONAL LTD 0.01 -70.97 1.22M
AEB AFFINITY ENERGY AND HEALTH L 0.009 0 18.2M
OBJ OBJ LTD 0.015 -12 25.3M
IXC INVEX THERAPEUTICS LTD 1.18 195 66.00M

The most famous of these is Orthocell (ASX:OCC) which wants to fix the problem of nerve damage. The company’s share price has tripled in a year on trials proving its technology works.

Another WA-based biotech is cancer-fighter Race Oncology (ASX:RAC) which is trying to bring an orphan drug to market for a rare type of leukaemia. It has also tripled in 12 months.

Invex Therapeutics (ASX:IVC) only listed in July but it too has been a top performer. Its goal is to relieve intracranial pressure, which occurs on the brain as a consequence of fluid build up. Among its backers is Fortescue Metals boss Andrew Forrest, who has a 9 per cent stake in the firm.

Another emerging sub-sector in WA is the cannabis sector. Two pot stocks, Emerald Clinics and Little Green Pharma, will hit the boards in the next few weeks.

Among the already listed cannabis-focused stocks, the best performer has been Impression Healthcare (ASX:IHL).

Of course there are a handful of laggards as well. The biggest is Neurotech (ASX:NTI) which makes devices aiming to help children with autism.

Last month it suffered a big blow when its device was dropped from the register of therapeutic goods, meaning it cannot be sold in Australia.

While Botanix (ASX:BOT) rallied for much of last year, it came crashing back to earth in October when a clinical trial disappointed.

READ MORE:
Building a sustainable biotech sector in WA
The health sector has been the ASX’s top performer in 2019, but could a recession stop it in its tracks
Here’s what policymakers must do to keep ASX life science companies from going overseas