A large number of Americans have access to cancer detection test Cxbladder, Dr David Darling, of Pacific Edge, says. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Dunedin-based biotechnology company Pacific Edge's bladder
cancer test is now available to about one-quarter of the
North American population following the signing of a new
By the end of the year, it seems possible the Cxbladder test
will be available to half of the North American population,
as two more deals are being negotiated.
Chief executive David Darling announced yesterday Pacific
Edge had entered into a new agreement with MultiPlan for
diagnostics laboratory testing.
The agreement included Pacific Edge's participation in the
MultiPlan, PHCS and PHCS Savility Networks.
The agreement was the fourth signed with national provider
networks by Pacific Edge since October last year and was
another step in the company's commercial rollout of Cxbladder
in the United States, the world's largest healthcare market,
The agreement with MultiPlan, in addition to the agreements
with FedMed, America's Choice Provider Network and Stratose,
made Cxbladder available to a large proportion of US
''National and regional provider networks are a key component
in the commercial fabric, ensuring health care providers and
technology suppliers are paid by healthcare for treatment
provided to patients.
''Our participation in these networks will give a large
number of Americans access to Cxbladder and its positive
benefits as a quick, cost effective, non-invasive and highly
accurate cancer detection test that is particularly appealing
to US healthcare professionals, patients and insurers,'' Dr
Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms said the
challenge for Pacific Edge was to turn the positive market
announcements into positive cash flow.
The company had previously set a target of $100 million of
The shares had been drifting recently as, like some investors
in Xero, shareholders had become ''momentum driven''.
Once the flow of news stopped, people with little
understanding of what the company was doing sold out of the
stock, he said.
Also, some key stakeholders had sold some of their shares.
''People put two and two together, got eight, and followed
others out of the company.''
Other investors believed in what the company was doing and
had waited a long time for the results, Mr Timms said.
The latest contract added to the credibility of Pacific Edge
in the market.
''Biotechnology companies have a long gestation period.
People have to be patient.''
The incremental cost of distributing the Cxbladder tests
widely must be outweighed by the benefits.
''If the processes are in place, it won't make much of a
difference how many tests are shipped. It is like a hopper.
"When you keep tipping things in the top, it doesn't mean an
increase of costs at the bottom. Any increase in sales should
go straight to the bottom line,'' Mr Timms said.
Pacific Edge is set to report its latest financial results on
Dr Darling said Pacific Edge's agreement with MultiPlan would
give MultiPlan's participating providers and its client
members access to Cxbladder.
About 900,000 providers participated in MultiPlan's provider
networks and an estimated 68 million consumers had access to
one or more of those networks.
Pacific Edge Diagnostics US chief executive Jackie Walker
said her sales and marketing teams were focused on the
urologists and clinicians treating the largest number of
bladder cancer patients to ensure they fully understood the
value and benefits Cxbladder provided to them and their
''We are advancing relationships with large commercial payers
and the Centre for Medicare and Medicaid Services which
provided healthcare insurance for 100 million people - or
nearly a third of the American population.''
Progress was being made with key customer segments, including
integrated Healthcare Systems, the Veterans Administration
and Large Urology Groups, which were the point of contact for
many patients presenting with haematuria - blood in the urine
- an early indicator of possible bladder cancer, she said.
More than one million Americans a year undergo medical
investigation for potential bladder cancer at an estimated
cost of more than $US1 billion ($NZ1.17 billion).
Bladder cancer is one of the most expensive cancers to treat.
The very high recurrence rate of this disease, requiring some
patients to receive expensive monitoring for the rest of
their lives, causes bladder cancer to have the highest total
medical costs of any cancer from detection to death.
In the US, the total medical cost approaches $US220,000 per
Cxbladder is a proprietary, accurate molecular diagnostic
test enabling the non-invasive detection of bladder and other
urinary tract cancers from a small volume of urine. Cxbladder
is commercialised in the United States as a Laboratory
Developed Test (LDT). It provides physicians and clinicians
with a quick, cost-effective and accurate measure of the
presence of the cancer and provides urologists with the
opportunity to reduce their reliance on the need for invasive
tests such as cystoscopy.