Sienna Cancer Diagnostics, CEO, Matthew Hoskin provides an update on 2018 progress, 2019 expectations and the product expansion strategy.
Katrina Bullock: Hello, this is Katrina Bullock for the Finance News Network, and joining me today is Sienna Cancer Diagnostics' (ASX:SDX) CEO, Matthew Hoskin. Matthew, welcome back to the network.
Matthew Hoskin: Thank you.
Katrina Bullock: First up, 2018 was a year of very solid highlights for Sienna (ASX:SDX). Could you just tell us a little bit about those highlights?
Matthew Hoskin: 2018 was a very productive year, from an operational standpoint, with a number of significant milestones achieved, which were important for both the commercial roll-out of our hTERT diagnostic and our longer-term growth strategy. To highlight a few major accomplishments from 2018, we saw growth in revenue from new laboratory customers established through StatLab, our distribution partner in the USA, the results from the largest ever study using our test for bladder cancer were presented by [The] Johns Hopkins Hospital, a world-renowned academic and clinical institution, at a major international pathology conference.
The results of that same study were then published in a highly regarded peer-review journal, an important first for our technology. A new clinical trial was commenced at the Royal Melbourne Hospital to investigate the use of our test in thyroid fine needle aspiration samples. In the world's fastest-growing IVD market, China, we secured a distribution agreement with GaoYuan, commenced training of their team and started the process for regulatory approval in China. And importantly, we raised capital in the middle of the year, to accelerate our technology expansion program, an important long-term growth strategy for the company.
Katrina Bullock: Thanks Matthew. Sounds like Sienna were extremely busy in 2018. Now turning to 2019. How has that started so far?
Matthew Hoskin: To kick off 2019, distribution partners have been appointed for South Korea and Singapore, two important high growth Asian markets. We're now working with our partners in both those regions to establish the necessary regulatory approvals for market launch. Another exciting development in recent months has been the advancement of our technology expansion program. The capital raised last year has enabled us to evaluate multiple opportunities for new products to enter our development and commercialisation pipeline, and to have meaningful discussions around bringing that technology into Sienna. Expert consultants have been engaged to assist us in that process, which has helped us to achieve real progress. And we'll soon be adding a new resource within the Sienna team to drive the implementation of this strategically important initiative.
Katrina Bullock: Thanks Matthew. And what are Sienna's expectations over the next 12 months?
Matthew Hoskin: Well as we move further into 2019, and beyond, our strategies remain focused on two areas. Firstly, to continue to grow revenue in the short to mid-term with the existing product in the established application of bladder cancer, through the current, as well as new, distribution channels. And secondly, to grow the mid to long-term revenue and profitability of Sienna by expanding the applications of our current product and by bringing new technology into our product development and commercialisation pipeline through in-license or acquisition.
Katrina Bullock: And what are some of the specific milestones you're hoping to achieve?
Matthew Hoskin: Our milestones will demonstrate continued progress in multiple areas, including increased penetration of our hTERT test in the USA for the bladder cancer application. Sales in Europe and into new territories such as China, Korea and Singapore. Further geographical expansion into Asia and other geographies such as Latin America. Completion of our proof of concept study in thyroid fine needle aspirts. R and D progress into additional applications for our hTERT test. And last, but certainly not least, the addition of new technologies into our product pipeline.
Katrina Bullock: Thanks Matthew. You mentioned Sienna's technology expansion strategy. Do you mind telling us a little bit more about that, and how it's been progressing?
Matthew Hoskin: Sienna is currently evaluating a number of potential candidates. They include technologies that could be in-licensed, as well as opportunities for asset purchase or even company merger or acquisition. All of the opportunities we're exploring have the ability to leverage Sienna's core competencies, experience and market channels, to complete the product development and launch new and innovative products to market. Sienna has an experienced team exploring these opportunities, and we're confident that the execution of such deals will help build critical mass in our company, provide additional market opportunity, and result in shareholder value creation. So watch this space.
Katrina Bullock: We certainly will be watching this space. Matthew Hoskin, thanks so much for the update.
Matthew Hoskin: Thank you.