Investors are cautious about buying into loss-making biotech firm Oxford BioDynamics (OBD) on its first day of trading on AIM as shares nudge a fraction to 159p.

Oxford BioDynamics, which was spun-out from Oxford University in 2007, has developed a non-invasive platform called EpiSwitch. It evaluates biomarkers, which are naturally occurring molecules or genes in the body.

The company's biomarker evaluating technology has the scope to significantly increase the chances of a new drugs successfully navigating the clinical trials-to-approval process.

According data from Oxford BioDynamics, the success rate of drugs going from Phase I to approval increases from 8.4% to 25.9%, potentially slashing costs for new drugs in development at pharmaceutical companies.

Blue DNA detail background with selective focus.

EpiSwitch produces a biomarker code which can characterise unique patterns for the diagnosis and study of diseases. The platform can reveal who responds to a specific drug, and who does not.

It can also clarify why one drug may work better than others, useful information when it comes to the regulatory approval process that dictates if new products will make it to market.

A LONG ROAD TO SUCCESS

Oxford BioDynamics generates revenue through several contracts but expects to remain loss-making in the near-to-medium term. The route to commercialise EpiSwitch will clearly require plenty of further investment, although the company has not clarified how long it expects to continue running up losses.

Epigenetics, where Oxford BioDynamics concentrates, is an exciting area of research. It studies how various environmental and biological factors, such as stress and different medications, affect gene activity when passed on from parent to child.

Oxford BioDynamics raised £20m at 158p per share from its initial public offering (IPO), although only £7.1m will be allocated for the biotech's future growth and patent development. That gave the company a £136m market value.


Issue Date: 06 Dec 2016