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Oncimmune continues building momentum with partnerships


What the company does

Oncimmune PLC (LON:ONC) is a specialist in the field of immunodiagnostics.

Specifically, its technology detects evidence of the body’s natural response to cancer, enabling detection four years or more before standard clinical diagnosis.

Founded in 2002, it launched its platform technology in 2009, followed by its first commercial tests – EarlyCDT-Lung and EarlyCDT-Liver.

EarlyCDT-Lung was used in the largest-ever trial for the early detection of lung cancer using biomarkers – the National Health Service’s Early Cancer Detection Test-Lung Cancer Scotland (ECLS) study of 12,210 high-risk smokers in Scotland.

Oncimmune also develops precision medicine and patient tools that allow doctors to place people being treated for cancer and autoimmune diseases into certain patient sub-groups, a process called stratification.

How it is doing

In December, the company revealed that its ImmunoINSIGHTS team played an important role in a study that “significantly expanded” the biomarkers commonly measured in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.

The results, published in the peer-reviewed PLOS ONE scientific journal, also helped to develop a detailed picture of the immune response to the disease and its treatment.

Researchers from Oncimmune, drug giant Roche and University Medical Center Utrecht analysed auto-antibodies in patients with newly diagnosed RA who were treated with either Tocilizumab or Methotrexate.

Successful validation of a completely new autoantibody panel that is predictive of treatment response would be a major step forward in the management of this debilitating disease of the joints, Oncimmune said.

Meanwhile, the firm has been inking several deals including commercial terms to supply its EarlyCDT Lung blood test to the NHS Norfolk & Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group.

It has also signed a contract to provide the product to NHS Lung Health Check initiatives in Wessex and Yorkshire as part of the iDx-LUNG evaluation programme.

These were preceded in November by an agreement with California-based Augmenta Bioworks to profile patient plasma samples and assess treatment candidates discovered using the latter’s SingleCyte and DeepGrid platforms.

The first project will deploy SeroTag, Oncimmune’s oncology technology, which will be used to identify potential therapeutic antibodies that bind to human antigens found in cancer patients.

The analysis will also provide insight into clinical efficacy as well as “off-target and non-specific binding” as an indicator, for example, for adverse events, Oncimmune said.

In its results for the year to May 31, 2020, the company posted an GBP8.5mln loss. More importantly, it exited the year with GBP4.2mln on the balance sheet.

What the boss says: Adam Hill, chief executive

In Oncimmune’s full-year results, CEO Hill said the med-tech group had made “strong progress” in its first full year of trading since the launch of its three-year strategy in September 2018.

“Following the successful turnaround, Oncimmune now has a solid platform business underpinned by its core technology and expertise, that is validated by an expanding stable of commercial contracts and a full pipeline of pharma service opportunities,” he added in the results statement.

“This underpins our expectation of delivering substantial further growth in the re-focused business throughout the financial year 2021 and beyond, about which the company looks forward to providing further progress updates.”


What the broker says

“ECLS data, peer-reviewed and published in the European Respiratory Journal, validates the clinical utility of EarlyCDT Lung and detection of early Stage I/II lung cancers,” analysts at finnCap said in July.

“We expect this publication to catalyse a number of conversations that Oncimmune will now have, not least with the NHS, national governments and various commercial partners that are expected to provide greater evidence of commercial traction. We also expect the Health Economic assessment from ECLS to be published by the year-end, and for this to support the use of EarlyCDT lung.”

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