New lease of bio life

David Haselhurst sees potential in a soon-to-be-relisted high-tech stock

David Haselhurst

LAST MONTH’S PLUNGE ON emerging diamond miner Goodrich Resources (GRX) saw the stock surge to a new 12-month high ... and we hope to repeat that success with this month’s pick of a new anti-cancer hopeful.

Our long-standing biotechnology stock Viralytics (VLA) continues to report encouraging progress and we hope to add a second fiddle to that asset class through the impending backdoor listing of Biolife Science when it emerges from a capital reconstruction.

As with all high-technology stocks, the board must include directors with international recognition among their peers. Biolife should deliver that in spades.

The director and chief operating officer will be Paul Hopper, an Australian who is managing-director of Los Angeles-based investment bank Cappello Capital, where he also heads the biotechnology and life sciences group as well as the Australia desk. (Hopper is also executive chairman of our ASX-listed Viralytics)

He recalled receiving a phone call a year or so ago from a distant colleague in Austria bemoaning the tough capital markets in Europe at that time. The caller was Axel Hoos, a vice-president of oncology R&D at GlaxoSmithKline. He is also co-director of the influential think tank, Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium. He will now become a director of Biolife.

The executive chairman of Biolife will be Roger Aston, a former executive chairman of the Mayne Pharma Group. A fourth new director will be Christoph Zielinski, the chairman of the department of medicine at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, and president of the Central European Cooperative Oncology Group.

They will join two remaining directors from the board of the still suspended listing shell, Acuvax, the vehicle for the listing of Biolife.

Perth stockbroker Patersons Securities is managing the reconstruction following an Acuvax-agreed 200-to-one share consolidation and a capital raising of up to $5million through an issue of 25 million new shares at 20¢ each.

The vendors of Biolife will then be issued with 20 million shares, plus 20 million performance shares that will convert to ordinary shares on achieving value-adding milestones.

This is targeted at relisting the stock as Biolife from May 10. The company will then own a novel platform oncology technology developed at the Medical University of Vienna on which some $10 million has so far been spent.

Biolife aims to outperform an existing monoclonal, injectable antibody Herceptin, owned by US giant Genetech with blockbuster sales of around $US6.4 billion a year. The strategy is to induce a polyclonal (many) antibody response with its HER-Vaxx vaccine, as a Phase 11-ready gastric and breast cancer vaccine that is claimed to be “attractively priced and heavily discounted” to its Phase 11 peers.

Rather than injecting a ready-made synthetic antibody such as the trademarked Herceptin, Biolife claims its HER-Vaxx is a vaccine that activates the patient’s own immune system to produce its own HER2-like antibodies.

We’ve lodged a notional application for 20,000 shares in the reconstruction.

David Haselhurst has written Speculator for more than 30 years.

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