Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) - harnessing radiation to see and treat a range of oncology targets


by Rachael Jones

Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX:TLX) Chief Business Officer Dr David Cade talks about the company's clinical programs, including approvals, partnerships and significant value events anticipated in 2021.

Rachael Jones:
Hello. I'm Rachael Jones for the Finance News Network. Joining me from Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) is Chief Business Officer Dr David Cade. David, welcome back to FNN.

Dr David Cade: Good morning, Rachael, and thank you very much. It's nice to be back.

Rachael Jones: Now, Telix Pharmaceuticals is a nuclear medicine company focusing on a number of cancer targets and high-value, rare diseases. David, can you tell us more?

Dr David Cade: We're a radiopharmaceutical company. We have a very broad late-stage portfolio of assets addressing some very significant cancers, namely prostate, kidney, brain cancer and some blood cancers, also known as haematological cancers, as well as some very high-value, rare diseases. If we look across the assets, the most proximal to market asset is Illuccix, which is our prostate cancer imaging agent, and this is currently in the regulatory approval phase across 17 countries. And that's very exciting because prostate imaging is a US$900 million opportunity. But beyond that, and most importantly, we believe that it is the new standard of care for imaging of prostate cancer, so there's many men that need that. That's a very significant unmet need, and this will be the new standard of care when it's launched.

On the therapy side, same with prostate on the therapy side, we're about to launch our Phase III PROSTACT trial, and that will start in Australia in the second quarter, so just in a month or two's time.

Just moving on to the next part of the portfolio, which is obviously kidney or renal cancer, again, two parts to it, imaging and treatment. On the imaging front, we are just about to complete our ZIRCON trial, our Phase III trial for kidney cancer imaging. The kidney cancer imaging asset, it doesn't have a brand name yet. It's still in development. It's known as TLX250-CDx, and what's attractive about that is that the FDA granted a breakthrough therapy designation for that asset. And then on the therapy side for kidney cancer, we're just about to launch into our Phase II STARLITE trial, which will commence in the United States in May.

And then really to just round out the last part of our traditional portfolio is glioblastoma or brain cancer. We did report back in December some very encouraging data from our IPAX-1 study, which is a Phase I study that really shows that there is a treatment effect.

So there's a huge amount of activity, and that's just the sort of the main part of the portfolio. I'd need another 60 minutes to go through the rest of it, so I might just pause there for a moment, Rachael.

Rachael Jones: Thanks, David. Now when we spoke this time last year, you mentioned a number of priorities for the company, including key partners' collaborations. How did these progress?

Dr David Cade: If we look at, say, the approach to launching our first product in the United States, we have commercial distribution partners arranged, Cardinal Health and Pharmalogic, so we've got a path to market in the United States. But we've also done a number of other very significant collaborations as well during 2020, and they really sort of fall into, I guess, three main areas.

The first of those is a collaboration that we have with -- we'll pick one -- RefleXion Medical, which is a Hayward, California-based company, developing new approaches to radiation therapy. Our products will, we believe, enable that new technology, so that's what we call an indication extension opportunity for Telix.

The second type of collaboration is, I guess, best exemplified by an acquisition we made in December. So, just a few months ago, we acquired TheraPharm, which is a small Swiss-German biotech company, and that gave us two very attractive assets that extend our portfolio into some rare diseases and blood cancer applications.

And then I think the third class of transaction we did can be exemplified by our partnership with China Grand Pharma, which we executed in the fourth quarter of last year that gives us, we believe, a very strong partner to address the Greater China Region.

Rachael Jones: Excellent. So, now let's talk about financials and your share price. Can you provide a snapshot?

Dr David Cade: The company is a well-funded company. We've got a very strong balance sheet. It's about an $80 million balance sheet at the present time, and that was contributed to by the transaction we did with China Grand Pharma. And that almost certainly will be added to around the middle the year when we receive an R&D tax refund from the Federal Government. We add that to our cash reserves, but of course we invest some of that back into research and development in this country as well. So it's a strong balance sheet. What it does is it enables us to launch the first product, which is Illuccix. It enables us to complete the second product, which is the kidney cancer imaging agent, which is completing its ZIRCON trial, as I mentioned. And it enables us to become a Phase III therapy company when we launch the PROSTACT therapy trial in the coming months.

Rachael Jones: Excellent. Dr David Cade, great to see you again, and thanks so much for the update.

Dr David Cade: Likewise, Rachael. Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it.


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