Rhythm Biosciences scores leading biotech fund as new shareholder

Written by Zoe Gross, edited and authorised by Jonathan Jackson. Published at Jun 12, 2018, in Biotech

Medical diagnostics innovator, Rhythm Biosciences (ASX:RHY), has welcomed leading biotech investor, Merchant Group, as a major new shareholder.

The Merchant Opportunities Fund, which now holds 5.02 per cent of RHY, has long been recognised as a successful, long-term investor in biotech companies that are nearing commercialisation.

RHY CEO, Dr Trevor Lockett, said: “We are particularly happy to have Merchant as a substantial shareholder, given their enviable record of combining thorough research with exceptional returns.”

“That has been shown with many of their previous substantial shareholder investments in the biotechnology industry such as PolyNovo (ASX:PNV), where after almost 5 years, Merchant Group and the Merchant Opportunities Fund still maintains a substantial stake,” Lockett noted.

“We are confident that Merchant will be a supportive equity partner as we work diligently on commercialising the company’s simple and effective ColoSTATTM blood test for colorectal cancer.’’

Lockett said that RHY was in the process of preparing reagents for the ColoSTATTM blood test, which is the result of over a decade of research and development by RHY and CSIRO.

RHY’s ColoSTAT uses antibodies to measure the levels of several particular proteins in the blood, which have been shown to vary in the presence of absence of colorectal cancer. The concentration values are then combined using a proprietary algorithm, and this process provides an indication of cancer risk. A returned result above a certain threshold will be an indicator that a patient should progress to a colonoscopy for further investigation.

“Given that colorectal cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer death in the world, we are working as fast as we can to progress ColoSTAT so that it becomes an important tool in the early diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer, along with other existing tools such as the faecal immunochemical test (FIT) and colonoscopy,’’ Lockett said.

As always, it should be noted that RHY is an early stage play and anything can happen, so seek professional financial advice if considering this stock for your portfolio.

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