Its platform manages and helps interpret images from MRI and positron emission tomography as well as collating and making sense of biosensor data.
The latest contract, for £1mln, will see IXICO provide its technology-enabled imaging services in a natural history study of people with early manifest Huntington's to observe the natural progression of the disease.
This is one of six areas in which it is actively supporting the hunt for breakthrough treatments, having landed contracts from companies active in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis.
Earlier this year a US$2.7mln deal with an unnamed global pharma company involved the use of IXICO’s TrialTracker digital platform and image analysis algorithms to collect and analyse MRI scans.
“Through our proven ability to collect and analyse clinical data in a standardised and regulatory-complaint format, we continue to build on our successful track record as a partner of choice to the biopharmaceutical industry,” said chief executive Giulio Cerroni.
But the IXICO business model far subtler than simply being a digital pharma services business.
Its collaboration with the giant Biogen is illustrative of this.
It is providing the brain scanning expertise that will allow physicians to monitor the effects of the company’s flagship product, Tysabri for multiple sclerosis.
While it is a hugely effective treatment, there is a risk of a serious side effect.
Certain patients are susceptible to the John Cunningham virus, which, once the immune system is suppressed, can affect the brain and ultimately result in serious harm or death.
IXICO’s technology helps spot the infection early, before it ever becomes a problem.
For Biogen this offers a huge boon – it is a way of keeping tabs on patients and it means more people can be safely put on the MS drug than are currently receiving it.
Crossing the Rubicon
In providing such a drug monitoring kit, IXICO has crossed the commercial Rubicon (if one can actually do that).
It has taken a useful piece of technology deployed in the clinical development of drugs and developed a companion product that will help doctors prescribe drugs more effectively.
Now, this is a hot area, one potentially worth tens of billions of pounds when it is fully developed and IXICO’s strategy is quite simple – it wants a small slither of the pie.
It is using the DNA from its current digital product, TrialTracker, and transplanted it into to new innovations.
Remember, IXICO is already working with the likely first adopters of this technology – the major pharmaceuticals companies.
Its work to date means it has compiled and is augmenting the datasets required to excel in this field.
Why are the multi-national drug giants interested in companion products and willing to shell out for them?
Well, very soon these businesses may be paid on results.
The Biogen collaboration may be in its infancy, but it provides proof positive that IXICO’s strategy has legs.
Revenues rise 30%
Interim revenues to March climbed 30% to £2.9mln (£2.3mln).
At the end of the period, IXICO had £2.7mln of cash in the bank, which was topped up by an oversubscribed placing in May that raised £5.5mln.
At 33.5p, the AIM-listed company is valued at about £16mln.