Positive results for Bionomics
SHARES in Bionomics Ltd surged more than 18 per cent after the biotech reported successful results from early trials of its anti-anxiety drug BNC210.
Bionomics said yesterday that two Phase 1b trials of the drug conducted in France showed that BNC210 reduced the number and severity of panic attacks in patients and showed for the first time BNC210-related changes to human brain activity.
Bionomics chief executive Deborah Rathjen said the next step for the company was to secure a big pharmaceutical company to further develop BNC210 under licence.
The trial results would provide ‘‘ more ammunition’’.
Shares in Bionomics rose 8c, or 18.6 per cent, to 51c.
‘‘ The results ( of the trials) have exceeded our expectations,’’ Dr Rathjen said. ‘‘ Both studies were designed to demonstrate the value of BNC210 as an innovative new-generation treatment for anxiety and depression, and the results confirm the drug’s potential.’’
Bionomics said current ‘‘ blockbuster’’ drugs for the treatment of anxiety, which include Valium, Prozac and Effexor, were not ideal.
‘‘ BNC210 represents a nextgeneration t reatment f or anxiety, which stands out as free of the serious sideeffects,’’ Dr Rathjen said.
BNC210 project leader Dr Sue O’Connor said data from t h e t r i a l s s h o w e d t h a t BNC210 l acked t he sideeffects of sedation, memory impairment and reduction of co-ordination shown by some other drugs. Bionomics expects to present data from the trials at major international scientific conferences later this year.
Anti-anxiety drugs have an estimated worldwide market of up to $ US12 billion ($ 11.68 billion) per year.
Dr Rathjen said Bionomics was expecting results from renal cancer and mesothelioma clinical trials of its BNC105 drug later this year.
Dr Rathjen said the next 48 hours should prove interesting in relation to investor interest in Bionomics.
On November 10, Start-up A u s t r a l i a V e n t u r e s a n - nounced that it was seeking tenders for the acquisition of its entire 27.76 per cent stake in Bionomics. The tender process is scheduled to close on March 31.
A s u c c e s s f u l t e n d e r e r would be required to make a takeover bid for all of the shares in Bionomics.
‘‘ The last 48 hours had been pretty dramatic in terms of having this BNC210 story together – getting the data o v e r t h e wee k e n d f r o m Europe and so forth,’’ Dr Rathjen said.
‘‘ The next 48 hours is going to be pretty interesting in terms of the tender offer.
‘‘ Our largest shareholder, Start-up Australia Ventures, currently has close to 28 per cent of the company up for sale. And anyone who buys over 19.9 per cent of the company is required to make a takeover bid.
‘‘ Of course, the other shareholders may or may not accept that; the board may or may not recommend that.’’