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NetScientific ‘confident’ in prospects of its three portfolio companies

Snapshot

  • Three portfolio companies: Glycotest, PDS Biotech and ProAxsis

  • £2.5mln of cash in the bank

  • PDS Biotech due to carry out phase II trial of lead drug this year

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Quick facts: Netscientific PLC

Price: 6 GBX

AIM:NSCI
Market: AIM
Market Cap: £4.71 m
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With the disposal of our Vortex and Wanda interests, we can focus using the remaining cash resources on extending the anticipated lifespan of the Company.

Ian Postlethwaite, chief executive

What it does

NetScientific PLC (LON:NSCI) invests in early-stage healthcare companies.
 
Until recently, it had five companies in its portfolio, but it now owns stakes in three companies following the sale of Vortex Biosciences and Wanda for £150,000 in March.
 
First up is Glycotest, in which NetScientific has an 87.5% interest.

Then there is ProAxsis, a Northern Irish diagnostics company which is creating a range of easy-to-use tests that can identify biomarkers of certain diseases.

ProAxsis’ NEATstik measures the amount of active neutrophil elastase in your sputum (spit and mucus), which helps doctors to manage infections in people with pulmonary diseases such as cystic fibrosis and COPD.

Much like NEATstik, ProteaseTag measures active NE, albeit in a slightly different way,

Finally, NetScientific owns a 14.9% stake PDS Biotechnology, which merged with Edge Therapeutics earlier this year and specialises in cancer immunotherapies.

A Phase 1 trial of a treatment for human papillomavirus (HPV)  indicated 60% of patients in the trial had demonstrated a clinical response to its PDS0101 treatment,

How it’s doing

Last year, Glycotest received “positive” results from a clinical evaluation of its HCC Panel device in patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer.

The portfolio company completed a US$10mln series A funding round with Chinese healthcare giant Fosun, and the first tranche of US$3mln was received in February. That money will be used to advance HCC Panel towards commercialisation.

ProAxsis has had its ProteaseTag and NEATstik tests 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.

In September,  NetScientific revealed PDS will take a key role in a phase II clinical study planned by industry giant Merck.

PDS0101 will be trialled in harness with Merck’s top-selling immunotherapy, KEYTRUDA, as a front-line treatment for recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer and the high-risk human papillomavirus-16 infection. The move essentially fast-tracks PDS0101.

Financials

For the first half, the company reported a loss from continuing operations of £2.1mln, unchanged from the prior year, while revenues rose to £158,000 from £86,000.

The total loss after tax was £7.6mln, compared to a £4.6mln in 2018, reflecting a loss form the disposal of two of the group’s investments, Vortex and Wanda.

Cash resources at the end of the six months stood at £2.5mln compared to £6.9mln a year ago, which the company said was sufficient for it to operate until the end of September 2020.

What the boss says: Ian Postlethwaite, chief executive

"Merck is renowned in the field of immuno-oncology, and PDS0101 when working in combination with their leading treatment for cancer, KEYTRUDA, has the potential to offer a new and exciting therapy for patients suffering from these devastating diseases."

Inflexion points

  • Start of PDS0101 trial
  • Recruitment of patients in ERS study 
  • Possible realisations from the portfolio

 

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