INOVIQ (ASX:IIQ) discusses US milestones

INOVIQ Limited (ASX:IIQ) CEO Dr Leearne Hinch discusses recent key announcements, including the appointment of a US sales team, the securing of a US patent, quarterly results, and the year ahead.

Tim McGowen: Today we’re speaking with Dr Leearne Hinch, who is the CEO of INOVIQ (ASX:IIQ), which is a company developing a portfolio of solutions for the early detection of cancer. Leearne, welcome back.

Dr Leearne Hinch: Thanks, Tim. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Tim McGowen: Now, Leearne, it’s been a busy period for INOVIQ, with a number of key announcements. Last week you announced that you’ve engaged a sales team in the US. Why is this significant?

Dr Leearne Hinch: Yeah, that’s right, Tim. We engaged a contract sales team through a company called Percorso Life Sciences in the US. That’s to sell our EXO-NET research tools to researchers in the USA. EXO-NET is our pan-exosome capture tool for the isolation of exosomes from plasma, urine, saliva and other body fluids. The reason it’s significant is because it’s a critical step in advancing the commercialisation of our EXO-NET products in the exosome research market, which is actually expected to be worth over $660 million by 2026. And essentially this actually followed multiple positive evaluations of our exosome capture tool by a number of key research groups in Australia and the US. And our business development and licensing director, he’ll be working with the US sales team to drive EXO-NET sales in the US over the next period.

Tim McGowen: Now, Leearne, you also recently announced you’ve secured a US patent for your SubB2M technology. Can you tell us more about this technology, and what the US patent actually means?

Dr Leearne Hinch: Sure. So, SubB2M is our proprietary technology to detect a pan-cancer biomarker called Neu5Gc. This is a sugar that’s found at elevated levels in multiple human cancers. And we’re essentially developing a number of blood tests for detecting breast and ovarian cancers using SubB2M. So, we’ve now actually got our first patents that have been granted for the SubB2M technology in both the USA and Australia, with a number of other jurisdictions pending. These patents actually protect the SubB2M protein that binds to Neu5Gc, and therefore protecting our SubB2M-based tests.

Tim McGowen: Leearne, you’ve also just released your quarterly results. What’s the significance of this report?

Dr Leearne Hinch: So, essentially INOVIQ is well funded. We’ve got a cash balance of $15.3 million to advance our products and our diagnostics pipeline towards a number of key milestones.

Tim McGowen: And, Leearne, what other milestones has INOVIQ met in the past quarter or so?

Dr Leearne Hinch: As you said, Tim, it’s been a really busy quarter for INOVIQ, across both our SubB2M and our EXO-NET programs. On the SubB2M side, we signed what’s called a master manufacturing agreement with a company called MP Biomedicals in Singapore to produce our GMP grade SubB2M. We also signed a master services agreement with a specialty contract research organisation called ResearchDx in the US. And, essentially, they’ll be developing and validating our SubB2M-based tests for breast and ovarian cancer. And then subsequently we announced that ResearchDx had successfully replicated our SubB2M test for breast cancer, and this program is progressing well. 

For our EXO-NET program, in addition to appointing the US sales force we actually signed a collaboration with the University of Queensland to develop our first-ever exosome-based ovarian cancer screening test. We also presented data at what’s called the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles conference in France in May. Our CSO co-authored a scientific statement on the role of exosomes for the Endocrine Society. And additionally we progressed a number of collaborations in Australia and internationally with leading research institutes.

Tim McGowen: It does sound like you’ve been extremely busy for the last quarter. And investors and shareholders are always looking ahead, Leearne. So, what’s ahead for INOVIQ for the remainder of 2022?

Dr Leearne Hinch: Sure. We’ve got a number of milestones coming up in the remainder of ’22. Essentially, they include additional collaborations for EXO-NET, publication of our EXO-NET data. We’re attending another… what’s called extracellular vesicles conference in November that’s actually in Brisbane. We also are progressing research for additional EXO-NET research tools. We expect to announce progress on our UQ collaboration for the ovarian cancer test. And, later in the year, we expect to commence further clinical studies for our SubB2M breast and ovarian cancer tests. So, I think we’ve got a fair bit going on, Tim.

Tim McGowen: It sounds like it, Leearne. Thanks for your time, and we look forward to following your progress later in the year.

Dr Leearne Hinch: Thank you very much.