Pacific Edge shares rally on announcement of deal

Peter Meintjes
Peter Meintjes
An announcement late in the afternoon from a Dunedin cancer diagnostics company caused its share price to rally nearly 18% in the final minutes of trading.

Yesterday afternoon, Pacific Edge announced Kaiser Permanente had agreed to incorporate its Cxbladder tests within its electronic medical records (EMR) system, which would making it easier for clinicians to order tests and view results.

In the market announcement, the company said the project, which was expected to take months to complete, would mean clinicians across the health-care group would be able to order the tests and view results directly within their clinical workflow rather than relying on a manual ordering system.

Patients would also be able to provide urine samples for Cxbladder tests at Kaiser Clinics and laboratories in addition to the current protocol of relying on the Cxbladder patient in-home sampling system initiated during Covid-19.

Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest non-profit healthcare providers in the United States, operating 39 hospitals and 734 offices, and covering more than 12.6 million members, of which 85% are in California.

The organisation is reported to manage about 2% of the urology patients in the US.

Pacific Edge, which is listed on the NZX and the ASX, made the announcement to the market about 30 minutes before the NZX’s close yesterday.

Within 15 minutes, its share price jumped 14 cents, or just over 18%, to 84 cents.

For most of the day, the stock had been trading between 71c and 73c.

The company’s chief executive Dr Peter Meintjes said Kaiser’s decision to include Cxbladder tests in its EMR system represented an important commercial milestone, offering a pathway to significantly ease the administrative burden of ordering and recording the results of Cxbladder tests.

When the EMR integration was completed, Pacific Edge expected to see an increased rate of adoption of Cxbladder across Kaiser’s network of hospitals, Dr Meintjes said.

Forsyth Barr investment adviser Gordon Tucker, of Dunedin, said the timing of the announcement was "interesting".

Kaiser Permanente had been part of Pacific Edge’s opportunity set for several years.

Being part of its EMR system would make a "more onerous" documentation process much quicker.

"That should speed up the revenue growth we are expecting to see from this business," he said.

Given the magnitude of change, a trading halt would usually be put on before such an announcement to let the market "absorb the news".

Pacific Edge’s stock was typically a "good news stock", which meant if there was a lack of news it tended to drift, Mr Tucker said.

Its share price is down about 34% for the year.

The company’s NZX stock closed at 83 cents, up 16.9% for the day.

Pacific Edge’s ASX stock only jumped 2.5% to A63 cents after the announcement in late-afternoon Australian trading.

Last week, the company released its results for the year to March 31, which showed its net loss after tax increased 39% to $19.8 million, while its total revenue grew 33% to $13.9 million.