ScoPo Powerplays: Immune Oncology Space Finally Gets Attention For A Long Time



Healthcare and life sciences expert Scott Power, who was a senior analyst at Morgans Financial for 24 years, explains what movers and shakers have been up to in healthcare and gives his edge over it. ‘ASX.

Themes of the week

Healthcare ended the week up 1.58%, compared to the broader market which rose 0.23%.

This week provides more evidence that the immuno-oncology space is starting to grab investor attention.

In short, immuno-oncology is the study of treatments that use the body’s immune system to fight cancer.

Until just 10 years ago, cancer therapy involved four main types of treatment: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy.

But over the past decade, immuno-oncology has become an alternative, transforming the landscape of cancer treatment.

On ASX, four companies focus on this space: Imugene (ASX: IMU), Immutep (ASX: IMM), Prescient (ASX: PTX) and Chimeric (ASX: CHM).

“This segment is getting a lot of attention around the world, and in Australia, if you look at Imugene, their market cap is now at $ 2.2 billion, which is pretty extraordinary,” Power said.

Imugene is in the clinical trials stage, and has neither product nor sales; but its share price went from 3c to 40c in just one year.

Power argues that Immutep, with a market valuation of $ 430 million, offers a more attractive entry point for investors.

Immutep is also a company in clinical trials developing the immunotherapy treatment for LAG-3 cancer.

The company has become the global leader in LAG-3 products, with more intellectual property and product candidates related to LAG-3 than any other company in the industry.

Elsewhere, another health stock that Power has in mind is Actinogen (ASX: ACW).

Actinogen is involved in the treatment of early stage cognitive impairment, primarily in early stage dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.

“These are pre-income and in the drug development phase. But a new CEO has recently joined this company and he has a very good reputation for repositioning companies, ”said Power.

In March, the company appointed Dr. Steven Gourlay as the new CEO. Dr Gourlay has more than 30 years of experience in the development of new therapies and was the medical director of the American company Principia Biopharma.

The other segment that Power believes could prove interesting in the next few years is IVF. The number of IVF cycles in Australia has recently increased, with 5,000 cycles reported for the month of April.

In the IVF industry, Power is reviewing two stocks it has recommendations on – Monash IVF (ASX: MVF) and Virtus Health (ASX: VRT).

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ImpediMed (ASX: IPD)
The company released the next-generation version 4.0 software for its SOZO digital health platform. SOZO uses ImpediMed’s BIS technology to measure and track critical information about the human body to help clinicians manage chronic disease.

“The key thing with ImpediMed is that we expect the data to be published shortly in one of the major journals. And that’s very important and could be a major catalyst for them, ”said Power.

Volpara (ASX: VHT)
The breast imaging company on Thursday released its full year results for fiscal year 21, generating record revenue of just under NZ $ 20 million.

The Kiwi-based company reported total revenue of NZ $ 19.7 million, a 57% increase from the previous corresponding period (pcp). It also saw a 55 percent increase in top annual recurring revenue (ARR).

ScoPo’s power play

Power’s pick of the week is Micro-X (ASX: MX1), a medical device company specializing in its Rover mobile X-ray devices that weigh just 95kg, compared to the standard 400-500kg.

The FDA just approved an application for the Rover bedside imager, just 14 days after submission.

“This is a company on which we have a speculative buy recommendation. We have it under full coverage with the price target of 61 cents, ”Power said.

Micro-X finished the week at 34c.

The views, information or opinions expressed in the interview for this article are solely those of the interviewee and do not represent the views of Stockhead.

Stockhead has not provided, endorsed or otherwise assumed responsibility for the advice on financial products contained in this article.

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