Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) on molecularly-targeted radiation (MTR) diagnosis


by Rachael Jones

Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX:TLX) CEO, Dr Christian Behrenbruch, discusses the company’s development of diagnostic and therapeutic products based on molecularly-targeted radiation (MTR).

Rachael Jones:
Hello I’m Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Joining me today from Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) is co-founder and CEO, Christian Behrenbruch. Christian, welcome to FNN.

Dr Christian Behrenbruch: Thank you, great to be here.

Rachael Jones: For those unfamiliar with Telix Pharmaceuticals, you work in the area of molecularly targeted radiation. What can you tell me about that and your product portfolio?

Dr Christian Behrenbruch: We’ve been using radiation to treat cancer for decades. The traditional way of treating cancer is to shoot radiation from outside the body. So a patient goes into a big machine and there we blast the cancer with external beams. What we do instead is we attach the radiation to drugs and we inject the drug directly into the patient. The drug carries that radioactivity specifically to the site of the tumour. And then we avoid all that other damage to normal and healthy tissues. We only eradiate the cancer cells.

Rachael Jones: Can you talk us through your product pipeline and the commercial opportunities?

Dr Christian Behrenbruch: So what’s unique about our products is that they’re both diagnostic and therapeutic. So before we treat a patient, we actually are able to image the patient to see if the target that we treat is available. And what this means is that our therapies are very precisely tailored. So we have a program focus in neurology, so we have a program for renal and prostate cancer. These are multibillion-dollar market opportunity if successfully prosecuted. And we also have a program in neurologic oncology; we treat an aggressive type of brain cancer called, Glioblastoma. This is an area where there are very few effective therapies and a high patient unmet need. And so we believe we have a unique opportunity there as well.

Rachael Jones: Earlier this year the company established a Japanese subsidiary. Can you tell me why this is an important market?

Dr Christian Behrenbruch: To be honest, mostly we focus on the US and European markets. Those are our vanguard markets and will be the most accessible markets to us, but Japan is a unique environment. It’s 120 million people. It’s probably the largest single market for our products, after the US. The Japanese population is an aging population and a big cost burden for treating cancer. And the Government is looking for more cost-effective ways of treating cancer. And as I mentioned before, what’s special about our products, is that we image a patient and select them for therapy. It means that we don’t waste therapies on patients that won’t work. And so our products are very cost-effective and that appeals to the mindset of the Japanese Government.

Rachael Jones: Recently you’ve had some good news flow regarding your prostate imaging. What can you tell me about this?

Dr Christian Behrenbruch: Prostate cancer imaging is a huge unmet clinical need. And it turns out that we have three million men living with prostate cancer in the US, and 160,000 new diagnoses every year. And it can take years before conventional imaging techniques can spot that disease. We have the ability to pick up even very early small metastases in those patients, and that gives much more treatment options for that patient. We just filed a Drug Master File with the US FDA, which is a very important milestone towards a product approval, so certainly a milestone for the company.

Rachael Jones: What upcoming milestones can investors expect from Telix?

Dr Christian Behrenbruch: One of the challenges of biotech is its often a bit of a black box, while you’re running a clinical trial. And so the advantage we have is we have a pipeline. So all of our programs have their own news flow associated with it, and also some pretty significant commercial milestones that are coming up. We expect to start generating first revenues from some of our programs, over the next 12 months and then that will certainly be newsworthy. So a combination of clinical milestones, commercial data points and also some early revenue discussion, I think will be very interesting to investors.

Rachael Jones: Christian Behrenbruch, thank you very much for the update.

Dr Christian Behrenbruch: Thank you very much.