Building on the momentum generated by existing and new contracts as well as success in attracting grant funding in 2018, we are looking forward to what the directors believe will be a strong second half
Jim Millen, chief executive
What it does
Physiomics Plc (LON:PYC) owns a software called Virtual Tumour which predicts the effect of different combinations of drugs on whatever type of cancer a pharmaceutical company might be researching.
Virtual Tumour helps companies work out the optimum combinations of drugs for a specific cancer along with other important elements such as dose sizes and how it should be administered.
It gives a head start when designing development programmes and helps to avoid costly failures especially in clinical trials.
As new cancer drugs can cost up to US$1bn, involve ten years of work and still fail right at the end of the process, anything developers can do to increase the probability of success is worth something.
So far, Virtual Tumour has been used to model 40-50 types of the disease, but its adaptability means it has the potential to be used across all areas of oncology.
How it is doing
German giant Merck Serono is a big fan of Virtual Tumour and renewed its contract once again at the end of 2018.
That contract is valued at £435,000 – a lot of money for a company with a market cap of just over £2mln.
The renewal of that key contract capped off a “strong” first half for Physiomics, during which income more than doubled to £372,000 (H1 17: £142,000). It also contributed to a near-50% drop in operating losses to £113,000 (H1 17: £220,000).
Newsflow in the second half has been fairly quiet, although bosses announced at the end of June that Nasdaq-listed Bicycle Therapeutics had signed up to use its software.
That’s Physiomics’ fourth project in the area of immune-oncology, which it said highlights its “rapidly developing capabilities in an area that is currently receiving significant investor and scientific focus”.
Small cap broker Hybridan said it saw this new client as “a rich hunting ground” for Physiomics.
Not only do contracts with the likes of Merck support the top-line, but they also help to attract smaller companies.
As Hybridan put it: “Whilst the larger Pharma contracts won in recent times underpin the revenue base, the validation that they bring is invaluable in attracting emerging biotech clients.”
Bosses have been working hard to increase awareness of Virtual Tumour, and the hope will be that more clients start to sign off as the software proves its worth to those in the industry.
Elsewhere, Physiomics, with the help of an Innovate UK grant, has been developing a tool that can help doctors figure out how much of a chemotherapy drug they should give to a particular patient.
In May, Physiomics revealed it was exploring the approval of the tool as a medical device, although this would likely require further clinical validation before it could be commercialised.
But it pointed out that the tool could be used earlier in research settings, “thus creating the possibility of nearer term revenue potential”.