Antisense rally prompts question: ‘Are ASX Biotechs back?’
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Biotechs had a big day on the ASX yesterday stirring whispers that ‘biotech is back’.
The sector was led by biopharmaceutical drug discovery and development company, Antisense Therapeutics (ASX:ANP) which ended the day 217% higher.
ANP has two drug candidates, ATL1102 and ATL1103, which it has been studying in clinical trials for use in three diseases: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) (ATL1102) and acromegaly (ATL1103).
The company is currently conducting a Phase II clinical trial with its flagship drug to treat DMD at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne. The company, and seemingly shareholders, are optimistic as this treatment is the same drug previously used by ANP in successful Phase II trials in MS patients.
After being issued a speeding ticket from the ASX, the company gave no explanation for the stock’s rally, except to say that the Next BioTech published an article on the company, ‘ASX Junior’s Flagship Immunomodulatory Drug Could Turn the Tide in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Treatment’.
ANP has continued to climb this morning, gaining 44% early on, and brushing off fears that its rally would be short lived.
MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX:MXC) was another biotech winner on Tuesday. The stock closed up 25%, for a 64% gain since the start of the month.
The medicinal cannabis company was also asked to explain, but told the ASX that it was unaware of information not announced to the market.
MXC has recently released a number of material announcements, specifically in relation to its Medicinal Cannabis based IMP, CannEpil, which is now available for supply in Australia, as well as news of its disposal of its MGC Derma business to a Canadian cannabis company. The fact that Canada’s legalisation of recreational cannabis use comes into effect today could be at play too.
Another pot stock having a good day was Esense-Lab Ltd (ASX:ESE). After a year-long downtrend ESE yesterday proved to have some life left yet. The pharmatech company gained 75% before entering a trading halt an hour or so after the open.
ESE announced that it had gained a new UK customer and without going into too much detail explained the deal was with “one of the largest companies in the UK for the production of e-cigarette liquid”.
However, that followed news on Monday that two earlier announced deals were now in doubt. The company also on Monday announced it is undertaking a $3.15 million capital raising.
Also add to the list, Suda Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:SUD) which is now up 88% since Monday’s close.
SUD is a drug delivery company utilising proprietary oro-mucosal drug delivery technology to develop low-risk, innovative pharmaceuticals that improve the health and lifestyle of patients.
The company entered a trading this morning, and will surely be closely watched for any news.
Prescient Therapeutics Ltd
Clinical stage oncology company, Prescient Therapeutics (ASX:PTX) looks to be following the sectors lead, rising 18% this morning after announcing a collaboration with a leading private US-based drug development company.
Prescient’s lead drug candidate PTX-200 is a novel PH domain inhibitor that inhibits an important tumour survival pathway known as Akt, which plays a key role in the development of many cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer, as well as leukemia.
The deal announced today with the US drug company is to develop new formulations of PH domain and Akt inhibitors. The collaboration will complement PTX’s existing PTX200 programs and leverage its experience with PTX-200. It also presents new technologies and opens new opportunities for PTX from a clinical perspective.
While it closed down slightly yesterday after some particularly volatile trading, drug developer Biotron Ltd (ASX:BIT) is the sector’s standout this month.
The stock is up more than 1300% since news of its successful Phase 2 clinical trial for its BIT225 HIV drug was reported in late September.
The company is looking to progress commercialisation negotiations and is preparing to brief potential pharmaceutical partners on the BIT225 HIV-1 trial outcomes. BIT is also exploring regional partnering opportunities for its BIT225 Hepatitis C (HCV) program in China.
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