Pacific Edge chief executive David Darling addresses a
packed annual shareholders' meeting in Dunedin yesterday.
Photo by Craig Baxter.
Dunedin-based cancer diagnostic company Pacific Edge
could possibly break even this financial year, but its board is
boldly predicting United States sales of $100 million in five
Many new development details, other cancer diagnostics
updates and strong hints of a large uptake from New Zealand
district health boards featured at its 13th annual
shareholders' meeting in Dunedin yesterday.
Pacific Edge's share price has risen from 20c to 58c during
the past year, and shareholder attendance at the meeting was
the best yet, there being standing room only for the 60 or so
people at the University of Otago's Centre for Innovation.
The US remained ''the company's focus for 2014'', chief
executive David Darling said, sales there having been allowed
to start from July 1 after the granting of strict regulatory
In the last financial year, Pacific Edge booked its largest
annual loss, $6.94 million, since listing on the stock
exchange in 2003, but as of yesterday retained about $10
million in the bank, which would cover operations for the
Pacific Edge has spent a total of $34.5 million on research
and development since 2003, including $3.2 million towards
setting up a laboratory in Pennsylvania and attracting a
staff of more than 30.
The mainstay product is the Cxbladder detection tool, but
shareholders heard yesterday about the separate Cxbladder
triage and Cxbladder predict, which are close to the later
stages of development, while Cxbladder health has begun
When asked about profit margins, Mr Darling said ''high gross
margins'' were involved, with a Cxbladder test in New Zealand
selling for $NZ320, in Australia for $A240 ($NZ275) and the
US for $US550 ($NZ700).
Mr Darling expected up to two million people in the US would
go to doctors with blood in their urine annually. About 50%
of US work could come from public hospitals and 45% from
private insurers, prompting him to estimate ''gross revenue''
from US sales of $100 million by 2018.
In New Zealand, full clinical tests for bladder cancer ranged
in price from $1700-$2000, but only 5% of people tested
actually had cancer, so Cxbladder ''could save district
health boards considerable funds'', Mr Darling said.
After a question from the shareholders' association, Mr
Darling said several other diagnostic developments for other
cancers, mainly colorectal and gastric cancer and melanoma,
had been ''parked up''.
While this was done for Pacific Edge to concentrate its
efforts on the US, it maintained its intellectual property
rights, and could potentially go into a joint venture, or
licensing agreement, to further develop those diagnostic
On a question posed about being bought by a large
pharmaceutical company, Mr Darling reassured investors that
such a buyout would have to be considered by the board in the
light of what would be in the best interests of shareholders.
''They find juicy morsels like Pacific Edge, then scoop it
up. That will come in time,'' Mr Darling predicted.
After the meeting, he said one unidentified pharmaceutical
company had approached the board and, had it not been for the
global financial crisis, might have gone on to consider a
buyout offer, Mr Darling said.