Pacific Edge sales up; still no profit

Dunedin cancer diagnostic company Pacific Edge has more than doubled its sales, recording $1.8million sales for the half year to September, and moves to its second-half trading with a $35.3million cash buffer.

The half-year's $1.8million sales almost equalled the previous full year's sales of $1.9million, but its loss for the six months widened by 44%, from $4.9million a year ago to $7million.

While Pacific Edge builds its footprint in the crucial US market, total expenses continue to grow and outstrip revenue, with consecutive losses over the past decade now pushing well beyond $60million.

Pacific Edge chief executive David Darling was upbeat about regulatory applications in the US, although the bodies concerned ''moved at their own pace'', and about user programmes, such as the 2000-person clinical trial undertaken by Kaiser Permanente in southern California.

Mr Darling said when Kaiser's trial results were published, they would be available to 10,000 urologists in the US, which Pacific Edge is targeting to use its products. A similar user programme was under way in Singapore.

In an interview, when asked about the $35.3million cash in hand, and how long that was expected to last, Mr Darling said increasing revenue streams would offset ''the cash burn'' in the future.

He also mentioned the imminent release of two more Cx-related products.

At present, there is Cx-bladder Detect and Cx-bladder Triage in the market, but Cx-Bladder Monitor will be launched at the end of this year and a fourth, new product, Cx-bladder Predict, would be launched in 2016.

''We'll be in a class of our own when we have four products in the market,'' he said, noting Pacific Edge was continuing to patent products in numerous countries.

Cx-bladder Predict will, from a urine sample, be able to differentiate between high-risk and low-risk tumours.

Half-year revenue rose from $531,000 a year ago to $1.79million, while expenses rose from $6.45million to $9.7million.

Last year's $4.73million loss rose to $6.42million, with the loss softened by a $588,000 foreign exchange gain.

Since listing, Pacific Edge has booked 11 consecutive full-year losses and burnt through more than $60million of shareholders funds, mainly in developing its mainstay product, Cx-bladder, a non-invasive, accurate, inexpensive urine test for bladder cancer.

In the $7.01million loss before tax, the Dunedin laboratory lost $420,000, the US lab $3.41million and research in New Zealand and Australia was a $3.18million loss.

Craigs Investment Partners broker Peter McIntyre has estimated the $35.3million cash chest should be able to support Pacific Edge for several years.

''While they are making inroads into sales, expenses are still outstripping revenue,'' Mr McIntyre said.

Forsyth Barr broker Suzanne Kinnaird said 2016 was an important year for Pacific Edge.

The company was ''well positioned'' to capitalise on its bladder cancer technology.

The $1.8million product sales had beaten Forsyth Barr's prediction of $1.3million, although the $7million loss was greater than its prediction of $5.9million.

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