Biotech bull sector running hard

ASX Biotech Eyes International Distribution of Overlooked Cancer Drug. Oct 30, Today’s biotech junior is in the business of repurposing late-stage drug assets that have been overlooked by big pharma.

However, benefits are being realised through genetic diagnostics to prevent disease, and in personalised medicines, screening which patients can be expected to respond from a particular drug based on their DNA makeup.

Zero Safety Issues for IMU’s Immunotherapy Cancer Treatment: Phase II Trial Imminent

BTC Health Ltd (BTC, formerly Biotech Capital Limited) is a Pooled Development Fund, registered under the Pooled Development Funds Act The Company continues to actively seek new investment opportunities in entities operating in the biotechnology / life-science sectors.

In the US biotech industry experienced the biggest boom year yet, as measured by IPOs - 63 companies were listed, with 26 in Australia a year later. The driver behind this surge of interest in the sector was the sequencing of the human genome. It was thought at the time that this breakthrough would rapidly escalate the understanding of disease in the human body and accelerate drug development throughout the world.

In reality, the wealth of knowledge gained from sequencing the human genome has added layers of complexity to drug development. However, benefits are being realised through genetic diagnostics to prevent disease, and in personalised medicines, screening which patients can be expected to respond from a particular drug based on their DNA makeup.

In there was a short-lived biotech boom following a Phase III trial result from Genentech's cancer drug Avastin, which has since been approved and is a very effective therapy in stopping tumour growth.

The outcome is that the biotech boom is twice as large and may last twice as long, with 49 biotech Initial Public Offerings IPOs in the US in This is good news for biotech investors in the US and Australia. There are other factors behind the booming US biotech sector outside this cycle phenomenon.

The trigger for the current boom was undoubtedly the acquisition of antiviral company Pharmasset at the end of by Gilead Sciences. This drug has since been approved and allows hepatitis C infection to be treated for the first time with tablets only no injections and without the unpleasant drug interferon.

This drug is expected to generate billions of dollars in annual revenue. Another driver in the US biotech sector is the change by the regulator to help bring drugs to market through the "Breakthrough Therapy" designation. Also, record low interest rates in the US are also pushing money towards growth stocks such as biotechs. The direction of that interest in is worth analysing when trying to pick stocks in the sector for As mentioned, on average biotech stocks in Australia increased by But the weighted index which accounts for market capitalisation , as measured by the Bioshares Small-Mid Cap Index, increased by only What this tells us, and was indeed the case, is that the interest last year was in the smaller and more speculative stocks, with some larger companies disappointing investors and missing key milestones.

The best performers for were Admedus up per cent , which has recently launched its wound treatment product for the repair of heart defects; Oncosil Medical up per cent which will move its cancer therapy into Phase III trials shortly; and Isonea, which has an App for the measurement of asthma. It was a year in which early-to-mid-stage drug development companies, which represent the more speculative end of the market, performed very well. These included Prana Biotechnology up per cent , Neuren Pharmaceuticals up per cent and Bionomics up per cent.

For , the stocks to monitor will be those with products reaching the market or approaching major clinical milestones, as well as some of the more established biotechs with revenue streams that were overlooked in and will also benefit from a weakening Australian dollar. Do not read the commentary below as stock recommendations. Do further research of your own or talk to a licensed financial adviser before acting on themes in this article.

Smaller biotechnology stocks generally have higher investment risk. The biotech bull run in Australia has been under way for nine months. Given the multiple factors that are driving the interest in the US, and that the last bull market was missed in because of the GFC, there is a good chance this current cycle may run longer and harder than normal, for at least another 12 months.

However, for that to occur here, Australia's leading stocks need to start hitting some major milestones, one factor that was missing in He has a financial interest in some of the stocks discussed in this article. Daily news on ASX-listed biotechnology companies. In the month to December 31, , the BDI shed 3. Just seven of the Biotech Daily Top 40 companies were up in December, 12 fell and one was unchanged.

The most notable December rises were Cynata But for the 12 months to December 31, it was a different picture, with 22 up and 18 down. Paradigm was the BDI best, up Outside the BDI, nine companies were up by more than percent for the year, mostly from very low bases, while 12 fell more than 50 percent.

Factor led the falls, down Thirteen of the 15 fell, with just Elixinol Global yet to begin its promised medical marijuana research and development up Eyepoint formerly Psivida climbed