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A researcher into gene silencing as a technology for improving the lives of those suffering from incurable diseases. Benitec Biopharma is my primary investment in this technology as ddRNAi offers one-time treatments for a broad range of these diseases.
  • Cell Therapy Commercialization Not A Fit For Big Pharma Model 6 comments
    Aug 19, 2014 12:48 AM | about stocks: BNIKF, BTEBY, JNJ

    While doing some research, I came across an article in Nature Biotechnology which contained a sentiment that may help us to understand why Benitec ($OTCPK:BNIKF, $OTCPK:BTEBY) has found it difficult to win deals with big pharma. The article said,

    For one thing, big pharma's business model is very different from what is needed to translate cell therapies into practice. The pharma model involves mass manufacturing of products that can be stored in warehouses and distributed through pharmacies to large markets of patients. Cell therapies, on the other hand, may be highly individualized, are incompletely characterized, are expensive to produce, have a short shelf life and onerous supply chain, must be transplanted into patients by skilled healthcare workers and have complex regulatory requirements. These challenges, along with a dearth of cell-therapy successes, have kept away investors, too.

    When one considers that ddRNAi is just as much a gene therapy technology as it is a RNAi therapy, it is not difficult to overlay this description of big pharmas interests on Benitec's lack of deal making.

    Perhaps Benitec should have scored a deal by now but the article does put some context around the company's difficulties in negotiating with the large pharmaceutical companies.

    The article also points to the role of governments in the support of cell therapy development. When one considers that Benitec is an Australian company that was spawned from the public sector but has received no government funding since becoming a public company, then this also puts some perspective on their situation. The company has described itself as the only gene therapy company in Australia and this gives us a picture of the gene and cell therapy industry in that country and the amount of government and investor support that the sector receives.

    Benitec's licensee, Calimmune, has received government funding through the CIRM. It is also working closely with Johnson and Johnson ($JNJ). Maybe these partnerships will assist Calimmune to become commercially successful? If they do, then some of that success should rub off on Benitec, or just maybe the results from TT-034 will be so impressive that big pharma will plunge into ddRNAi regardless? Whatever happens, it is clear that big pharma needs to get its thinking into step with the new paradigm of personalized medicine if it is to be a player in this developing field.

    Disclosure: The author is long BNIKF.

    Additional disclosure: This article is not intended as investment advice. Readers should do their own research.

    Stocks: BNIKF, BTEBY, JNJ
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Comments (6)
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  • tonyynot
    , contributor
    Comments (12) | Send Message
    Another great posting, Pannobhaso. When reviewing the Benitec pipeline and trying to understand the awesome potential for their product, it is difficult to understand why their market cap is less than at least one billion dollars. I am reminded of your post earlier this year titled: "Benitec: The Health Payer's Dream Biotech". Near the end of that post, you conclude:
    "Many companies have "game changing" technologies, few have "paradigm changing" technologies but Benitec is one of these. Big pharma is unlikely to want to see health payers take control of the market and so when the technology is proven in humans, as results from HCV, cancer and HIV accumulate, the stand-off of big pharma waiting to invest in the company will break; one of them will blink, the question is, which one?"
    I remain firmly convinced, as I believe you do also, that as the efficacy of the Benitec product is proven, the dam will burst and the true value of Benitec will be recognized and reflected in its share price.
    19 Aug 2014, 09:57 AM Reply Like
  • Pannobhaso
    , contributor
    Comments (245) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » Tony, I think you are absolutely correct, when the technology is proven in humans, there will real interest from big pharma. This interest may not stem from them wanting to be a leader in the field, it could stem from them covering their bets and not wanting to be left out.


    TT-034 will certainly be a good start but we may have to wait until the nsclc trial has results before we get there.


    I can wait.
    19 Aug 2014, 11:26 AM Reply Like
  • brama66
    , contributor
    Comments (176) | Send Message
    Agree with you both. I think most are holding their breath for efficacy. Once that happens, it will essentially demonstrate that ddRNAi is bot safe AND effective. And that means it is so for a platform, not just a "drug".
    20 Aug 2014, 03:33 AM Reply Like
  • SmokeyNYY
    , contributor
    Comments (95) | Send Message
    Hell I can wait as well. I am only 27 and the money I have invested will come and go many times in my life. If ddRNAi does work, I don't want to miss it. If it doesn't. Oh well can easily make that money back.
    20 Aug 2014, 05:25 PM Reply Like
  • Seanl482819
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
    Finally someone else who isnt looking to fund their retirement! I am also a fellow 27yr old looking to retire young! Investing everything i can into it, although it isnt a crazy amount....


    The only stock i have ever come across that has THIS much potential.... if all goes well a few grand invested now could change your life by xmas next year!
    22 Aug 2014, 03:25 PM Reply Like
  • pga2003
    , contributor
    Comments (70) | Send Message
    As usual, just another solid, fact based commentary from Panno, great job and keep them coming. Paradigm shifts are occurring across all industries and gene therapy is here to stay this time!
    19 Aug 2014, 11:11 AM Reply Like
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