Big step for city-based biomedical firm

Big step for city-based biomedical firm

Biotech company Pacific Edge, of Dunedin, is confident of securing several licence agreements this year for its mainstay bladder cancer detection test - in development now for more than seven years.

Its secondary cancer test development, Cxcolorectal, has had a European licence in place since 2006.

A commercialisation platform for the test will be launched this year.

Pacific Edge yesterday announced the newly licensed test, Cxbladder, had been signed up by health care provider Healthscope Ltd, the second largest Australian private hospital provider operating 44 private hospitals and 48 medical centres in Australia and Asia.

After the announcement, shares in Pacific Edge were up slightly at 20c, having hit a 33c high last June before hitting a year low of 17c in December to trade generally in the low-20c since then.

Pacific Edge chief executive David Darling said the Healthscope licence would be the first income stream from the Cxbladder development.

"We're looking forward to a steady stream of royalties for some time ahead.

"There's been a lot of interest in other new markets ... we're expecting to announce several [Cxbladder] agreements during the year.""\

For its half-year to September result, Pacific Edge posted a loss of $1.39 million.

During that period it raised $4.7 million to boost the commercial roll-out of the bladder technology, to take Cxcolorectal to market, advance other product development and to manage its intellectual property portfolio.

Pacific Edge, one of the original start-ups in a clutch of Dunedin-based biotech companies from almost a decade ago, has during its past six full financial years booked consecutive losses amounting to more than $14 million of investor funding.

Under the agreement, Healthscope Pathology will market and offer laboratory services to urologists and general practitioners for the detection of bladder cancer using Cxbladder; which enables the early detection of the cancer from a small volume of urine.

"Healthscope is well spread across the Pacific rim; with facilities in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia," Mr Darling said.

Cxbladder was a cost-effective and accurate measure of the presence of the cancer, and meant urologists could reduce their reliance on invasive tests, such as cystoscopy, he said.

"Cxbladder is expected to completely replace cytology and be used to complement cystoscopy in the clinical care path for patients presenting to clinicians with haematuria (blood in the urine)," Mr Darling said.

By Dene Mackenzie on Thu, 16 Jun 2011

Source: Otago Daily Times

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