In January Glycotest announced that it had completed a 149-person Chinese retrospective study of its test for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It demonstrated 93% sensitivity at 92% specificity, which is superior to the commonly used alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test. Additionally, ProAxsis announced continued commercial progress with the CE mark of a ProteaseTag research kit for a new enzyme, plasmin, which may have utility in inflammatory conditions of the lung.
The recent clinical results confirmed those from earlier studies that demonstrated that the HCC test could efficiently identify 86% of patients who were missed by an AFP test and even 78% of those who were AFP negative in the early stage disease cohort. This supports the commercial proposition for the test because the ability to catch more patients at an earlier stage will allow them to be treated surgically and significantly reduce downstream costs.
The current strategy is for Glycotest to perform an additional clinical trial in 2018 using both banked blood samples and prospectively identified patients, although the details on the study have not been released yet. The company then intends to implement the HCC panel test in a US CLIA lab in late 2018 or early 2019. These plans are contingent, however, on securing additional financing, which it hopes to conclude in a near-term Series A.
ProAxsis recent announced that it received a CE mark for an active plasmin assay using its proprietary ProteaseTag technology. Plasmin, an enzyme responsible for degrading blood clots, can have its activity downregulated in response to various inflammatory lung disorders. The plasmin assay kit may therefore be useful for research involving diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
We have increased our valuation of NetScientific to £70.5m or 102p per share, from £62.1m or 90p per share. This is due to the increase in probability of success for Glycotest to 20% from 10%, resulting in an increase in the value of NetScientific’s share to £19.0m from £10.6m. We expect to update our valuation with the closing of financings for the individual companies, expected in 2018.