Tiziana Life Sciences (NASDAQ:TLSA | LSE: TILS) on Tuesday unveiled plans to list Accustem Sciences in the US on the Nasdaq Stock Market. This will give the spin-off access to a market with a healthy appetite for early-stage pharma companies.
The newly listing business was a subsidiary of clinical stage biotechnology firm Tiziana but is being spun out and given space to flourish on the Nasdaq.
Accustem is focused on commercialising its genetic tests for predicting breast cancer recurrence – that is, whether the cancer will come back after treatment.
This includes its StemPrintER multi-gene prognostic assay, which is intended to predict recurrence risk in ER+/HER2- breast cancer. Its other product is Spare, a StemPrintER derivative that combines StemPrintER and two clinical markers.
Endocrine receptor-positive (“ER+”) breast cancers make up the majority of breast cancer cases. Prognosis for these patients is good, but a significant proportion do see recurrence in the first ten years after surgery.
For ER+ patients who also have negative HER2 status (HER2-) and risk of recurrence, endocrine therapy is the standard of care, sometimes with chemotherapy. However, current testing is often not good enough to predict risk of recurrence in ER+/HER2- breast cancer patients. This leaves patients “either over- or under-treated”.
Both StemPrintER and Spare aim to predict recurrence risk based on 20 stem cell markers.
StemPrintER has already been evaluated in and initial a retrospective validation study, involving a cohort of around 2,400 breast cancer patients.
After that, StemPrintER was further validated in an independent retrospective cohort of over 800 ER+/HER2- postmenopausal patients.
In fact, a poster presented at a virtual conference in May 2020 showed that StemPrintER outperformed the market leader, Oncotype DX, when it came to predicting recurrence in ER+/HER2- postmenopausal breast cancer patients.
The Nasdaq listing will proceed once distribution of shares in Accustem to Tiziana shareholders is complete.
The Accustem board has concluded that the Nasdaq is “more appropriate” when it comes to the nature of its business.
These kinds of early-stage pharmaceutical can do better on the Nasdaq than they do on, say, the London Stock exchange.
A comparison for this would be between Nasdaq-listed Seres Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MCRB) and 4d Pharma (LON: DDDD), which is listed on London’s AIM market. Both companies are in the microbiome therapeutics space.
On July 31, Seres shares were trading at $3.74 while 4d Pharma’s were at 51.40p. Since then, both companies have seen huge progress in terms of share price.
However, while 4d Pharma’s shares are now up at 112.70p for a £202 million market cap, Seres has seen astronomical growth to $21 for a $1.9 billion market cap.
Given the similarities between these two firms, it would be sensible to attribute at least some of this to the environment on these different exchanges.
The Accustem listing is also a great opportunity for Tiziana shareholders to access this market and reap the benefits of future success.
Meanwhile, Tiziana is already making great headway with drug Foralumab, which is intended to modulate the immune system. This makes it a potential candidate for treating a host of autoimmune diseases, where the body’s own immune system starts to harm cells.
Foralumab has been shown to reduce the release of cytokines in Crohn’s disease patients. Cytokines are released by the immune system, and some can cause chronic inflammation. They also play a roll in the fatality of Covid-19, where too many cytokines can be produced, triggering an aggressive and possibly deadly immune response.
In February, data from an exploratory clinical study found positive data for Foralumab in patients with Covid-19, which has brought further attention to the drug.
Foralumab’s potential in other autoimmune conditions is also being explored. Late last month, the US Food & Drug Administration allowed Foralumab to be used to trat a patient with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, its first use in a patient with this condition.
Success on the Nasdaq for Accustem would only further boost Tiziana’s profile, giving shareholders access to both Tiziana’s promising Foralumab but also Accustem’s much-needed test.