ScoPo powerplays: ASX healthcare stocks show signs of nervous recovery

  • Imugene shares rally on positive Phase 2 trial of its lead drug candidate HER-Vaxx
  • Hexima shares tank at 88% after not-so-positive phase 2 trial results to treat fungal nail infections
  • Lumos Diagnostics Achieves $11.2M Cap Raise After Shares Fall 90% Since IPO in July 2021

Healthcare and life sciences expert Scott Power, who was a principal analyst at Morgans Financial for 24 years, explains what the movers and shakers have been doing in ASX healthcare stocks.

Have you ever wondered about the secrets of aging? Well, we can learn a thing or two as we get older in reptiles and amphibians. At 190, Jonathan the Seychelles giant tortoise is believed to be the oldest known living land animal in the world.

Jonathan the tortoise lives on Saint Helena Island, a remote British colony west of Angola. Image: Getty Images

An international team of 114 scientists, led by Penn State and Northeastern Illinois University, reports the most comprehensive study of reptile and amphibian aging and longevity to date, including data collected in the wild from 107 populations of 77 species in the world.

Reported in the newspaper Scienceresearchers have found that protective phenotypes, such as the hard shells of most turtle species, contribute to slower aging, and in some cases even “negligible aging” or no biological aging.

Lead author and associate professor of wildlife population ecology at Penn State David Miller said there is anecdotal evidence that some reptiles and amphibians age slowly and have long lifespans, but so far, no one had actually studied this on a large scale on many species in the wild.

“If we can understand what causes certain animals to age more slowly, we can better understand aging in humans, and we can also inform conservation strategies for reptiles and amphibians, many of which are threatened or endangered. disappearance,” he said.

Although the study is complex and looks at a range of factors between warm blood and cold blood, it didn’t make much of a difference, but having a protective mechanism helped lessen the impact of the time.

Animals with certain protections such as armor, spines, shells or venom, have lower aging and higher longevity. Exactly why requires more research.

To the markets…

And we could all still do with a little protection in the last week of the 2022 financial year in Australia. June is a traditional time when Australian investors crystallize losses for the year, while stock markets have also come under pressure from economic forces.

As of 12:30 p.m. Friday, the S&P/ASX 200 Healthcare Index (ASX:XHJ) had cautiously risen 0.27% over the past five days, outpacing the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX:XJO) which was in down 0.03%.

“There’s been a lot of volatility and people are talking about a recession and we’re well and truly in the correction phase,” Power said.

“But our index here was only down about 8% for the 12 months and held up better than most.”

Morgans’ House view is more positive and he predicts that there will be no recession in the US or Australia in the near future. Remember that a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP.

“Our view is that the RBA and the Fed will be able to bring interest rates down to a point where inflation is under control and growth is expected to slow, not to the point of a recession,” he said. Power.

“That gives us reason to be optimistic, especially when you look at health care and life sciences which, at the speculative end, have been under heavy selling pressure for most of this year.”

Imugene jumps on positive results from phase 2 trial

Immuno-Oncology Clinical Group Imugene (ASX:IMU) saw its share price rise about 37% to 19 cents this week after announcing a victory in the war against advanced gastric cancer.

Imugene’s Phase 2 study of HER-Vaxx in Her-2/Neu overexpressing advanced/metastatic gastric/GEJ cancer showed a 41.5% survival benefit for patients treated with HER-Vaxx plus SOC chemotherapy compared to SOC chemotherapy alone.

The median overall survival (OS) for patients receiving HER-Vaxx plus chemotherapy was 13.9 months, compared with 8.3 months for patients treated with chemotherapy alone.

“Imugene is positive news and jumped significantly this week at one point up around 50%,” Power said.

Hexima collects ~88% on the results of the phase 2 trial

It’s not such good news for Melbourne-based clinical-stage biotech Hexima (ASX:HXL)who like Stockhead Gregor Stronach reported, saw his stock price implode on news that his Phase 2 trial of his lead product, pezadeftide for the treatment of onychomycosis (fungal infection of the nails), was a failure.

Pezadeftide is a plant-derived water-soluble peptide and has shown promising signs that it can quickly penetrate the nail bed to fight fungal infections.

In a statement to ASX, the company said its “Phase 2 clinical study of pezadeftide for the treatment of onychomycosis (HXP124-ONY-002) is inconclusive and will require further investigation and evaluation. thorough”.

“The results observed in this study do not appear to correlate with the results observed in its previous Phase 1 study (HXP124-ONY-001) and do not support direct transition to a Phase 3 program,” the statement said.

Hexima said it intends to conduct a detailed review of the full set of data from the clinical trial and the conduct of the study and expects to report its findings once times completed.

In his post-news review, Morgans said the high-level readings are generally a solid guide as to general pass/fail criteria and, in his experience, the subsequent review is unlikely to produce a reversal. makeshift, at least not in the broad catch- the whole population as expected.

The stock price has fallen about 88% in the past five days to 0.03 cents.

Lumos shakes the tin for much-needed funds

Lumos Diagnosis (ASX:LDX) announced the finalization of the retail component of its capital increase. Lumos raised $3.3 million in the commercial component of the cap increase, and with the institutional portion, a total of $11.2 million.

Lumos specializes in rapid, cost-effective, and comprehensive point-of-care (POC) diagnostic testing solutions to help healthcare professionals more accurately diagnose and manage medical conditions.

Funds are badly needed, with the company bearing the brunt of strong sales of growth stocks and its price having fallen 90% since its IPO on July 5, 2021.

The company listed at $1.25 and its share price is now at 14 cents. The company said funds from the cap increase would be used for working capital.

“Lumos was disappointing and they strengthened their balance sheet with a small capital raise,” Power said.

Antisense target moved down

Morgans cut its 12-month price target for biotech significantly Antisense Therapeutics (ASX:ANP) from 58 cents to 27 cents. In its research note, Morgans said “rising interest rates and inflation concerns continue to dampen investor appetite for many of these long-term names, particularly those with potential funding gaps to achieve major catalytic events”.

ANP announced in June a successful study in a new muscle disease indication for its lead drug, ATL1102. LGMDR2, also called dysferlinopathy, is a rare genetic disorder caused by mutations in the dysferlin gene that results in a significant reduction or absence of dysferlin protein levels in muscle fibers.

Morgans said that while the ANP is currently well funded ($21.7 million in 3Q22), expectations for fully costed trials through futility analysis remain at $36.8 million.

“While we believe there is potential for cost rationalization (i.e. higher weighting for lower cost jurisdictions in the EU) and potential for non-dilutive fundraising via grants or partnerships, these are typically long-term projects with an unknown timeline and unlikely to be flagged in advance due to commercial sensitivities,” Morgans’ memo states.

“We like Antisense long-term, but felt it was appropriate to lower its price target to something more reasonable,” Power said.

The company’s stock price has fallen about 7% in the past five days to 7.5 cents.

Powerplay from ScoPo – Mach 7 represents good value

Power chose a medical imaging company Mach 7 (ASX:M7T) as its stock of the week, believing it represents a value that has fallen 54% over the past year to 49 cents. Power said the company continues to win contracts and is entering a growth phase.

“We can see it bouncing back in July and their latest release indicated a growing backlog,” Power said.

Morgans has a 12-month price target of $1.55 on Mach 7.

“I could have mentioned several companies that were taken down as June 30 approached and will probably appear in July, but let’s try to name a name,” he said.

Any views, information or opinions expressed in the interviews for this article are solely those of the interviewees and do not represent the views of Stockhead. Stockhead does not provide, endorse, or take responsibility for the financial product advice contained in this article.

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