BARD1 Life Sciences (ASX:BD1) - detecting cancer earlier to save lives, July 2021


by Lauren Evans

BARD1 Life Sciences Limited (ASX:BD1) CEO Dr Leearne Hinch introduces the company, discussing its recent capital raising and share purchase plan.

Lauren Evans: Hi. This is Lauren Evans with the Finance News Network. Joining me from BARD1 Life Sciences (ASX:BD1) is CEO, Dr Leearne Hinch. Leearne, welcome to FNN. It's nice to meet you.

Dr Leearne Hinch: Thanks, Lauren. It's lovely to meet you as well.

Lauren Evans: It's great to have you on board. First up, can you start with an introduction to the company?

Dr Leearne Hinch: So, BARD1 is a cancer diagnostics company. We are focused on early detection of cancer when we can make a real difference to people's lives. There are screening tests available for some cancers, such as breast cancer -- there's mammography. But, for other cancers, like ovarian cancer, there isn't any screening tests available at all. We're developing blood tests for a number of different cancers. Our lead products are for breast and ovarian cancers, but we also have some research projects for prostate and pancreatic cancer.

The problem today is, essentially, that although screening tests exists for some of these cancers, there are still very high false positives or insufficient sensitivity for early stage cancer. That's stage one and two before symptoms have actually appeared. As an example, with ovarian cancer, given that there isn't any screening test available, by the time that a patient has symptoms, they're in what's called stages three and four, which means that they then see a doctor and they're being essentially diagnosed at a late stage, which, unfortunately, there's often metastases to other areas of the body, which results in a very poor prognosis.

Just putting that in perspective, what it means is, today, the average five-year survival for an ovarian cancer patient is about 47 per cent of women will survive for five years. If we can actually detect ovarian cancer in stage one, that actually increases to up to 93 per cent survival over five years. And if they detect it at a late stage, unfortunately then it's as low as 30 per cent five-year survival. And, frankly, that's the same across all cancers.

Lauren Evans: So now to your products and your portfolio, can you provide an update on that?

Dr Leearne Hinch: Our portfolio is focused on a range of different cancers. As I said earlier, we're focused on early detection of breast and ovarian cancer, also on prostate and pancreatic cancers. We have a couple of key technologies. We have the SubB2M-based tests, which detect a sugar that's only found in cancers, and that's the current test that we're focused on getting to market in 2023, which are our breast and ovarian cancer tests. We also have another technology called EXO-NET, which is an exosome capture tool, which can be used in order to develop exosome-based liquid biopsy tests for cancer and also for other diseases.

Lauren Evans: Thanks, Leearne. So, now to your capital raising and share purchase plan, can you tell us more about this, starting with the placement to sophisticated institutional and professional investors?

Dr Leearne Hinch: Sure. So we recently, on Friday, announced that we had completed a $15 million placement. We had very strong demand from both new and existing investors. Essentially, the proceeds will be used to fund the development and commercialisation of our lead SubB2M tests for ovarian and breast cancers, as well as supporting the ongoing commercialisation of our EXO-NET product portfolio.

Lauren Evans: And can you tell us more about the share purchase plan?

Dr Leearne Hinch: So, the share purchase plan, we are looking to raise a further $2 million, where we have enabled existing shareholders to participate in that raise and on the same terms as the placement. Essentially, the placement was $1.55 per share, and, additionally, it has an attaching option for every two shares purchased under both the placement and the SPP. Essentially, that's at a 50 per cent premium to the share price, meaning that those options will be exercisable at $2.32 in two years' time, which is 24 August 2023.

Lauren Evans: So, the last question from me, Leearne -- is there anything else that you'd like to add today?

Dr Leearne Hinch: Yeah, I'd like to just give an update in terms of what the investors can expect to see over the next 12 months. Our key catalysts around our feasibility results for our lead SubB2M tests for breast and ovarian cancer. That will be followed by clinical testing results, and clearly a focus on securing a laboratory partner for commercialisation of our diagnostic pipeline, which we plan to do first in the US, followed by Europe and Australia. In addition to that, we have our EXO-NET portfolio, and we're seeking a distribution partner for our research-use-only EXO-NET product, and we also expect to announce some expanded co-development agreements that we'll be looking to put in place for EXO-NET to develop exosome-based diagnostics. We expect to have about $20.6 million in the bank at completion of both the SPP and the placement, which is fantastic for the company as we progress these tests through to commercialisation. And, lastly, I'd like to thank both our new and existing shareholders for support of the company and our raising, and we look forward to providing you, keeping you informed of our updates over the next 12 months.

Lauren Evans: Great. Well, Dr Leearne Hinch, thanks so much for the update today, and we look forward to hearing from you later this year.

Dr Leearne Hinch: My pleasure. Thank you.


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