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NetScientific sees “key value inflection points” in next 12 months

In its recent half-year results, the medical research investor recorded a loss after tax of £4.6mln in the six months ended June 30, less than the £5.2mln loss a year ago
Lung X-Ray
ProAxsis, one of the firm's portfolio companies, had two of its products selected for an upcoming study on respiratory diseases

Healthcare investor NetScientific PLC (LON:NSCI) has said it was “pleased” with the performance of its portfolio companies as it narrowed its losses in the first half of 2018, with chief executive Francois Martelet adding that the firm is expecting “several key value inflection points” in the next 12 months.

The AIM firm, which invests in development-stage medical and healthcare businesses, recorded a loss after tax of £4.6mln in the six months ended June 30 (H1 17: £5.2mln). It said the loss reflects the early-stage nature of its investments.

After raising £5mln back in April to help it support its portfolio companies, NetScientific ended the period with £7.1mln of cash in the bank (Dec 17: £6.9mln).

The fundraising was backed by Woodford Investment Management, NetScientific’s largest shareholder with a 47% stake in the firm.

Vortex

LIquid biopsy system developer Vortex has already been busy this year.

Vortex’s system collects circulating tumour cells (CTC) from the bloodstream to provide early signs of the killer disease.

Earlier this month, Vortex signed a collaboration deal with BioView, a provider of automated cell imaging and analysis solutions.

Martelet, Vortex’s chairman, said adding BioView to the mix will allow automated identification of the biomarkers expressed by CTCs collected by the platform.

In April, the company presented its data to an annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

PDS Biotechnology

PDS Biotechnology, meanwhile, is collaborating on a phase II immuno-therapy trial of its Versamune-based PDS0101 candidate metastatic head and neck cancer in combination with Merck’s best-selling cancer treatment Keytruda.

PDS0101 combines Versamune with harmless multi-epitope peptides derived from cancer-causing proteins of the HPV virus, but, critically, which are recognised by the immune system.

ProAxsis

ProAxsis is a diagnostics company based in Northern Ireland, developing a range of products to identify active protease biomarkers of diseases.

The tests deploy smart molecules to trap an active protease within a complex biological sample and enable a visual readout of its presence.

In September, the company said two of its products, the NEATstik point-of-care test and the ProteaseTag Active NE Immunoassay, had been selected for use in a major upcoming clinical trial into respiratory diseases funded by the European Respiratory Society.

The study will be conducted over three years and involve 1,000 patients suffering from bronchiectasis across Europe, with the two ProAxsis being used to explore new biomarkers and determine their impact on clinical outcomes.

Glycotest

Glycotest is developing a test for liver cancers and fibrosis-cirrhosis.

In January, a blind evaluation of 149 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the diagnostic panel was able to determine whether or not a patient had liver cancer with a “high predictability”.

“Given that liver cancer is the fastest growing cause of death in the US and the leading cause of death in China, we believe that the positive outcome of the trial will be very significant for patients suffering with HCC” Martelet said.

“Commercially, we believe the opportunity to be very attractive, with an estimated total accessible market of US$1bn annually” he added.

In October, Glycotest Inc agreed on terms of a funding round that will see it receive up to US$10mln from a leading healthcare group based in China, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical.The deal could see the Chinese company's stake rise to 40% and NetScientific's dilute down to 50.4%.

The proceeds from the financing round will be used to bring Glycotest's diagnostic HCC Panel, a biomarker panel driven by a proprietary algorithm for the detection and surveillance of curable early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), towards commercialisation in the US and to advance pipeline assets in liver fibrosis and cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer).

Wanda

Wanda, based in San Francisco, has developed a way remotely to monitor people with congestive heart failure and other chronic conditions.

Wanda’s technology uses machine learning to help healthcare providers better manage the risk and care of patients by predicting adverse events before they happen.

In August, the company launched a new digital health app, Wanda CareLink, on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, which allows its patient management solution to be used on a wide variety of internet-enabled devices.

At 27.3p, NetScientific carries a market cap of around £23.3mln.

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