Sienna Cancer Diagnostics (ASX:SDX) capital raising


by Rachael Jones

Sienna Cancer Diagnostics Limited (ASX:SDX) Managing Director and CEO Carl Stubbings talks about the company's capital raising and co-development of tests using its SIEN-NET liquid biopsies platform technology.

Rachael Jones: Hello. I'm Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Joining me today from Sienna Cancer Diagnostics (ASX:SDX) is MD and CEO Carl Stubbings. Carl, welcome back to FNN.

Carl Stubbings: Thanks, Rachael. It's really nice to talk to you.

Rachael Jones: Now, Sienna is a cancer diagnostics development company. How is progress?

Carl Stubbings: For me, the key is accurate and early diagnosis of cancer. That's what Sienna's actually all about. Early diagnosis of cancer means better treatment outcome for patients. Our hTERT test has been helping diagnose bladder cancer for the last couple of years. And the new pipeline of tests that we're building around our SIEN-NET platform, like our collaboration with Minomic where we're developing a test for pancreatic cancer, is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. And there will be more to come in the future.

Rachael Jones: Thanks, Carl. And what is the size of the diagnostics market? And what is the opportunity for your tests?

Carl Stubbings: Well, diagnostics market is huge. If we look at the global lab test market, which is essentially pathology testing, which is where Sienna is developing its tests, in 2018 globally that market was valued at 70 billion dollars US. That's very big. The laboratory tests themselves are one of the single biggest medical procedures that are performed in the United States. There is about 13 billion tests done at the moment every year.

Rachael Jones: And now let's talk about your portfolio in more detail. Can you tell me more, starting with hTERT?

Carl Stubbings: We continue to drive the adoption for our hTERT on a worldwide basis, although we've got an obvious emphasis on the US market. Our US distribution partner, StatLab, has been working with Sienna to close out a number of high-value opportunities that we're both currently working on at the moment.

We're also looking at the potential for expanding the possible claims for the test, which, if that works out appropriately, we may consider some additional FDA filings.

Rachael Jones: And what can you tell me about EXO-NET?

Carl Stubbings: EXO-NET itself, just to give you a brief snapshot, is actually the first commercial embodiment of the SIEN-NET platform. The collaboration with Minomic to develop a test to diagnose pancreatic cancer, I think is really exciting. If you talk about a disease with an unmet medical need... In the US last year 50,000 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 40,000 people died. By the time a patient presents with symptoms, their survivability is somewhere between 3 and 14 months. This is a devastating disease. There is no diagnostic test, at the moment, that can pick that disease up early. This is a perfect example of what I talked about before -- early diagnosis, early treatment, improves survivability and outcomes.

The second collaboration we announced in relation to EXO-NET was with an Australian company called VivaZome. That's very exciting as well. It's developing a treatment for a disease called chronic limb ischaemia. It's an interesting opportunity for Sienna because it moves us into this world of therapeutics. Critical limb ischaemia is a horrible disease that currently results in patients' having their limps amputated. Being part of a treatment development for this disease, I think is very exciting. And while it potentially could create significant value for the company, it would also be addressing a significant unmet medical need.

Rachael Jones: Thanks Carl. Now to your capital raising. How much are you looking to raise and where will the funds go?

Carl Stubbings: The total amount we're looking for is 4.2 million Australian. 1.7 of that will be through a placement to sophisticated investors and institutional investors. And that money has now been received and is in the bank. The additional 2.5 million will be raised through a rights issue. Essentially, what we'll use these funds for are the things I've just talked about, and that's the development of further opportunities for the SIEN-NET platform and to underpin the co-development we're having with partners Minomic and VivaZome.

Rachael Jones: And finally, Carl, is there anything else you'd like to add?

Carl Stubbings: The company has demonstrated a track record in successfully commercialising new diagnostic technologies. We've seen that with our hTERT program. We've developed experience in acquisitions, licensing, and deal-making. Our first commercial product is now in market, and we continue to build out our global distribution network. The SIEN-NET platform has a broad application across this fast-growing liquid biopsy market that I referred to, but it's also got potential in the development of key therapeutics. We're continuing to build a pipeline of diagnostic tests in cancer areas of great unmet need. There will be more to follow. Watch this space.

Rachael Jones: Carl Stubbings, thanks very much for the update, and best of luck for the cap raise.

Carl Stubbings: Thank you very much, Rachael.