Biotech focus

How to Invest in the Cancer Moonshot

President Obama introduced the Cancer Moonshot during his State of the Union address on January 12, 2016 in an effort to accelerate cancer research. The initiative – led by Vice President Joe Biden – seeks to make more therapies available to more patients while improving the ability to detect, treat, and prevent cancer. As a part of the initiative, the government will commit $1 billion to jumpstart the work, including approximately $755 million in additional NIH funding over the next year.

As a part of these efforts, the Cancer Moonshot initiative aims to encourage the analysis of tumors and surrounding cells in order to better understand the genetic and other changes that occur. According to the White House’s fact sheet on the project:

“Genomic Analysis of Tumor and Surrounding Cells:  A greater understanding of the genetic changes that occur within the cancer cell, and in surrounding and immune cells responding to the cancer, will advance both immunotherapy and targeted drug therapy and help lead to an increased ability to enhance patient response to therapy.”

In this article, we will take a look at how Pressure BioSciences Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO) is well positioned to take advantage of this and other elements of the Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Accelerating Proteomic and Genomic (Proteogenomic) Research

The Children’s Medical Research Institute (“CMRI”) recently opened The Australian Cancer Research Foundation International Centre for Proteome of Cancer (“ProCan”) facility to advance large-scale proteomic profiling studies in cancer. ProCan is an official collaborator in the Cancer Moonshot program, and the facility's efforts to map cancer genomes and proteomes are essential to the program's goal of accelerating cancer research.

Pressure BioSciences develops and sells proprietary lab instruments to the $6 billion life sciences sample preparation market. Sample preparation is a term that refers to a wide range of activities that precede most forms of scientific analysis. Sample preparation is often complex, time-consuming, and one of the most error-prone (but crucial) steps of scientific research. It is a widely-used laboratory undertaking, the requirements of which drive a large and growing market. PBI’s PCT-based systems can be used to exquisitely control the sample preparation process.

The company introduced the Barocycler 2320EXT instrument in June, and ProCan bought the first three units.  The new Barocycler provides the best available sample extraction technology on the market, and the machine's ability to provide reproducibility, speed, and automation will allow ProCan to more quickly and reliably process tumor samples than previously possible. ProCan plans to analyze about 70,000 cancer samples over the next seven years.

As Dr. Nate Lawrence, Pressure Bio's VP of Sales and Marketing, said, "Nearly $1 Billion in new funding is planned for cancer research in the current US fiscal year, a portion of which could support the expansion of additional "industrialized proteomics" labs worldwide, similar to ProCan. With the recognition that ProCan and other cancer research programs are already giving to our recently released, next-generation 2320EXT Barocycler system, combined with our planned salesforce expansion and our SCIEX co-marketing program, we believe we will see robustly increasing sales of our PCT product line in 2017 and beyond."

Importance of Proteogenomics

The proteomic and genomic analysis of tumors and their surrounding cells is essential to the success of the Cancer Moonshot initiative since the data from these analyses is vital to developing successful detection technologies, treatments, and preventive strategies. The data from these forms of analyses can be invaluable in the drug discovery process, where researchers must look at what genes may be targets in certain patient populations – a traditionally time-consuming process.

Vice President Biden announced the launch of the Genomic Data Commons (“GDC”) as part of the Cancer Moonshot initiative to provide a powerful tool for discovery using cancer genomic and clinical data from thousands of studies. Using these tools, research will be able to dramatically accelerate drug development and avoid making the same mistakes made by cancer researchers around the world. The opening of ProCan, a partner in the initiative, is a major step forward for the development of the GDC.

"ProCan is very simple in concept but massive in scale," said CMRI Director, Professor Roger Reddel, who is also a co-leader of ProCan. "We believe the results of ProCan will greatly improve the speed and accuracy of cancer diagnosis and provide clinicians an enhanced capability to choose the most effective treatment option for each individual patient's cancer and, importantly, to avoid those treatments that are likely to be unsuccessful. This will reduce treatment toxicity and improve cancer treatment outcomes in children and adults -- worldwide."

Reaching a Tipping Point

Pressure BioSciences recently reported second quarter product revenue that increased 42% to $474,187 and a positive net income. In addition, the company eliminated all of its floorless debt, became a co-marketing partner with a global life sciences leader (SCIEX), developed the next generation of its PCT platform (the 2320EXTREME), and continued to increase sales of its instrument systems and consumables – which have reached record levels during Q2’16.

Moving into the final part of the year, the company aims to strengthen and expand its internal sales and marketing capabilities, support and expand its co-marketing agreement with SCIEX, continue to increase revenue and margins, and work toward an up-list to the NASDAQ/NYSE. Progress toward these goals could create numerous upcoming catalysts for investors over the coming months.

Looking Ahead

The U.S. government’s Cancer Moonshot initiative represents a significant reinvestment in fighting cancer. As a part of the initiative, Australia’s CMRI will be analyzing over 70,000 tumor samples to create a database that researchers can use to accelerate drug discovery. CMRI’s use of Pressure BioSciences' cutting-edge, PCT-based sample preparation technology in a very publicized international effort could lead to more business for the company and potentially higher revenues. These developments complement the company’s existing strong growth rates as it works to expand its product offerings and build up its internal sales and marketing teams.

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