NRT, ANP, PYC, ACL, OBJ : A Week in Contrast

Last week was a pretty exciting week in Australian life sciences. Quite a bit happened, in fact I struggled to stay on top of it while being on vacation. We’ve seen a couple of good things happen, like PharmAxis, Sirtex recovery, etc. that are real bright spots on the Aussie biotech landscape. We’ve seen some anomalous stuff like Prima’s seemingly “sticky” stock rise (I was apparently wrong) and Anteo becoming a battery company (woop-dee-doo).

And then there was the usual crud. Apples and oranges, really. Night and day.

Novogen (ASX : NRT)

What a spectacular week for Novogen. First they informed us that they have filed a patent, which is really phenomenally exciting and big news for us. Thank you for sharing. As you all know, I am very big on companies that announce that they have completed paperwork of any kind. Especially patent filings. I also love it when a company gives you a bit of colour to the patents they have filed because there is nothing like strategically disclosing to the whole world where your company is going. I particularly loved the “dominant if not exclusive position” comment – very sexy stuff, nothing “forward-looking” there.


We also really enjoy the occasional “tidbit” of inadvertent information. Thank you for reminding us that your drugs are probably no longer lethally toxic. I’ll be looking forward to reading the published toxicology results whenever they are available.

AntiSense Therapeutics (ASX : ANP)

AntiSense announced a pretty much uninteresting deal with myTomorrows, a Netherlands-based Early-Access Program (EAP) service provider. Again, incredibly forward-looking because the inclusion in an EAP program is entirely at the regulator’s discretion (yet to be allowed, or even applied for). Moreover, it is usually for drugs that have a regulatory designation in another country but are not regulatory approved in the EAP territory. Such a “global” agreement also has very limited territorial regulatory relevance and is not the “blanket” market opportunity that is claimed by AntiSense. I suppose worst of all, if AntiSense really does have a decent drug in ATL1102, why are they doing these kinds of lukewarm collaborative deals?

You will note that the go-forward for this program is also dependent on the ability to use some pretty long-in-the-tooth material that is probably out beyond stability (i.e. the reason why it is being re-tested). Thanks for sharing.


Phylogica (ASX : PYC)

Ah Phylogica, how we do love your shiny shiny shareholder newsletters.

Yes, we’ve been aware of your programs for a very long time, and how slowly they are progressing, but thanks for the reminder. We were all encouraged to read that you haven’t actually started any animal models yet but that you are planning to do so. That’s pretty exciting, I guess. Let us maybe know when you have published something useful, don’t do the animal-by-animal breakdown that PharmAust does, please. PLEASE.

Well done on the equity deal with Phoremost. That’s really great news for shareholders. Now they have ownership in not one, but two marginal biotechnology companies. Good job. Next time, show us the money.


Oh – lastly – small typo. Dr. Pilar Blancafort is as far as I can see, an Associate Professor at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. Not an Adjunct Professor, as suggested in your newsletter. She would have worked rather hard to be the former and not the latter. We probably wouldn’t have been all that interested in you working with an adjunct professor anyhow. Hey, maybe your stock price will rise on the basis of this correction!

Alchemia (ASX : ACL)

Despite the initial excitement of what appeared to be activist investor engagement with the company, the future is looking a little uncertain after the company disclosed its quarterly profit share with Dr. Reddy for Fondaparinux, including the very important information that “Dr Reddy has advised Alchemia that, based on their assessment of actual sales returns of fondaparinux to date, the current level of sales returns provision used in calculating the net profit share is unlikely to be sufficient to cover future returns of product.” In other words, the deal that Alchemia has with Dr. Reddy is essentially non-viable (at least this is their negotiating position).


I truly hope that someone from Sandon is holding the management team’s hands when they head over to Hydrabad next month. It also means that Alchemia is truly a negligible player in the world of LMW heparin. I hope that when they negotiate a deal with Dr. Reddy, it’s just to take out the program and stop messing around with a profit share.

OBJ Limited (ASX : OBJ)

Nice to see the continued downward slide and even fairly committed shareholders pull out. By the way, in general, I think OBJ shareholders need to get a life. I have never seen so much sustained and hopeful natter on share trading platforms. People fairly read their tea leaves every morning to guess where this company is going and then get online and share it with their long-term buddies in stock market purgatory. Not even the “Body Guard” announcement perked up those loyal followers (a completely substance-less disclosure, incidentally).


OBJ’s biggest problem is that for a company that is heavily dependent on sophisticated product marketing for its ultimate success, it can’t effectively position itself to save its life. The thing that hurts OBJ the most isn’t its marginal technology, it’s the lack of polish and finesse in its investor relations. For goodness sake, go and hire a firm to do the talking for you, don’t do it yourself. You suck at it.

Have a nice weekend.


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