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Pacific Edge 1H loss narrows as company eyes US market for bladder test

Wednesday 30th November 2011

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Pacific Edge, the biomedical firm specialising in cancer detection, posted a smaller first-half loss as it pushes on with bringing its Cxbladder product to market in the US.

The net loss narrowed to $1.39 million in the six months ended Sept. 30, from $1.42 million in the same period a year earlier, the Dunedin-based company said in a statement. Sales dropped 24 percent to $201,000 from $264,000.

Pacific Edge is burning through cash as it targets the US, where it plans to build a laboratory to provide services to urologists as part of a strategy to win acceptance for its non-invasive bladder test product.

The company has raised about $20 million from new and existing shareholders this year, giving it a funding buffer through until 2013.

The company, whose shares trade on the NZX and were first listed in 2003, opened its first commercial laboratory earlier this year in Dunedin and is basing its US facility in Pennsylvania. The shares last traded at 22 cents and have jumped by a third this year.

Pacific Edge raised $5.1 million in June via a share placement, and $15.5 million through an entitlement offer to shareholders in August, including a shortfall made up by institutional investors.

“This year sees the continuation of Pacific Edge’s commercialization strategy,” the company said. “The US market remains the prize.”

More than 1 million people present in the US each year with haematuria, the presence of red blood cells in the urine, and need to be tested for bladder cancer, Pacific Edge said. The cost ranges from US$520 million to US$1 billion using conventional tests and the company predicts “significantly better outcomes” and cost savings using Cxbladder.

The company will fit-out and commission a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified laboratory for the provision of services to urologists in the US. The laboratory has been designed to facilitate up to 250,000 tests from an estimated market size of 1.8 million per annum,” said the company. It is scheduled to open in 2013.

The Cxbladder is a non-invasive test enabling the early detection of bladder cancer from a small volume of urine providing general practitioners. The firm won New Zealand patents for gastric cancer detection and melanoma prognostic technology in June.

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