written by reader Benitec (BNIKF)

By biotechlong (btl), March 16, 2014

Benetic (BNIKF) Any thoughts on the large percentage (13%) drop in share price on Friday – down to $1.48? I could find no news on the topic, so I assume that it is a function of profit-taking rather than event-driven?

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Subramania Kaushik
Member
Subramania Kaushik
March 16, 2014 4:32 pm

That is correct! Mostly i would associate it to the delay in dosing the first patient! The correct is definitely a gift for those who want to load up on shares or planning to enter at lower levels!
We might even see $1.35 but i don’t see it staying there for long with lot of good things planned this year!

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Subramania Kaushik
Member
Subramania Kaushik
March 16, 2014 5:46 pm
Reply to  Larry McKenna

Sure! Good to know! It is tough to be patient but i believe the rewards are too high in this one if ddRNAi technology is successful!

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sean
Guest
sean
March 17, 2014 2:44 am

After dosing, what results can we expect first? HEP C or HIV? That will be the indicator for when to buy up BIG! So make sure your money isn’t tied up!

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rstickle
Guest
rstickle
March 17, 2014 6:55 am

Hi subramania…to long term holders Down Under it seems the sell off was likely caused by nervous recent buyers selling their holdings on the supposedly ‘bad news’ that the first patient will be dosed immediately upon being positively screened and identified for the TT-034 trial in the US. The spread of information on social media (Hot Copper) magnified the misinformation – perhaps a lesson for us all?

The net result: a shift of holdings from weak to strong hands, further evidenced by an 18% appreciation in the stock today on the ASX. There is also strong apparent evidence of market manipulation – including high frequency automated (robotic) trading on this stock, which has IMO served to depress the stock in recent days and magnify the extent of the sell-off by triggering stop-loss orders on the way down.

By today, investors seemed to have come to the realisation that nothing fundamental had changed for the business – it’s been years of hard work to come this far…another few days/weeks is hardly going to hurt! In fact, many long term holders used the opportunity to top up their holdings here on Friday and again this morning with the stock dipping as low as AUD $1.54 before getting to AUD $1.92 (US $1.75) just before the ASX close.

Should be a VERY big day in the US Monday for BNIKF. Good luck to all holders. Clearly very exciting times indeed ahead for this company.

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analog68
Irregular
analog68
March 17, 2014 3:14 pm

Does anyone know why BLT holders are already voting on the second placement and BNIKF holders have not heard a thing ie. no proxy information etc. Strange?

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David B
Guest
March 18, 2014 1:39 am
Reply to  analog68

Nick I believe it is because the BNIKF shares are OTC and this makes it much tougher for the company to track down investors of record. The company can locate the BLT.AX investors without much trouble.

analog68
Irregular
analog68
March 18, 2014 1:48 pm
Reply to  David B

David B….thanks. I am beginning to realize that and understand. Next question, do you own BNIKF or BLT? The vote is irrelevant to me as I would vote yes. Are BNIKF equivalent to BLT ? We are still owners of Benitec, correct?

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Subramania Kaushik
Member
Subramania Kaushik
March 18, 2014 1:54 pm
Reply to  analog68

that is correct! they just trade under a different symbol here!

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David B.
Member
March 17, 2014 3:21 pm

20% surge in BNIKF today makes the 12% drop on Friday much easier to stomach : )
The share price had floundered for the past couple weeks due mostly to things unrelated to the company–broader market jitters espc. in the biotech sector, tendency to flee to “safe investments” when there is global/market unrest and some bad days in the Australian market. Investors then tend to get more jumpy when things like a delay in a trial happen. Some of the jumpy, “weak” investors sold shares last week, much to their long term detriment. Benitec remains a company with a huge upside and a limited downside. Investors just have to have a stomach for higher than average volatility.

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analog68
Irregular
analog68
March 20, 2014 7:39 pm

Pannobhaso has written another ddRNAi article on SA.

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timmuggs
timmuggs
March 20, 2014 8:21 pm
Reply to  analog68
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rstickle
Guest
rstickle
March 21, 2014 5:35 am

I had the very great pleasure to attend an investor briefing with the Benitec executive team during the week. The discussion was very broad, however some key points are worth sharing – noting that they reflect my own observations and in no way represent the official views of the company:

– In investor meetings, PF now mentions BLT is the only gene silencing and the only ddRNAi company in Australia. Not long ago the admission of either would have resulted in a distinct lack of an audience! The tide has certainly changed on this front. PF sees the current interest in RNAi therapeutics as a gold rush – and while Benitec missed out on the first gold rush in 2008 while defending its IP, he is adamant that company will not miss out this time around.

– The company is not under the false impression it can market its own drug programs. Market success will be achieved through partnering with big-pharma, and the nature and level of interest in Benitec from big pharma has markedly increased. Rather than Benitec calling them, it’s now the other way round. Not surprisingly there is now widespread, genuine interest in Benitec from the ‘big boys’. The clear implication is there will be very strong competition for a partnering deal with Benitec (assuming clinical success) with TT-034.

– Despite Gilead’s Sovaldi being heralded as the ‘most successful drug of all time’ clinical success with tt-034, and an effective partnering (and pricing) strategy would allow Benitec to become a very significant thorn in their side. Just as Gilead prospered at the expense of Vertex, it is entirely possible that one day the Benitec shoe may be on the other foot!

– The company is acutely aware that the shareholder approval of the second tranche of funding is critical to a number of the current programs progressing into and through the clinic to their desired stages of evolution. In particular, reaching Phase IIB for TT-034 is seen as a critical milestone in value creation for the company. It was noted that Gilead’s $11 Billion acquisition of Pharmasset was achieved after a successful phase IIB. The management team sees no reason why Benitec cannot emulate this experience.

– While Benitec has no direct competitors, its ‘comparators’ all have far higher markets caps (Alnylam 5.5b, Arrowhead 900m etc). This is despite the fact that Benitec may have the most novel (and if successful) effective solution. The HepC market alone reflects 170 million sufferers world wide – including 1% of Americans. Anecdotal evidence suggests HepC sufferers react very well to the notion of a ‘one shot cure’ – with at least some individuals already planning to await the results of the Benitec clinical trial before commencing any other therapies. The implication is that if clinical success is achieved, the valuation disparity between Benitec and its peers may no longer hold true.

– The HepC clinical trial is seen as a critical validation of the potential for a HepB cure (a further reason why the Benitec team want to get HepC to Phase IIB).

– TT-034 trial results are likely to be available after 3 months and every 3 months thereafter – noting the first two patient cohorts will produce safety readings only, as the doses are sub-therepeutic in nature. Cohorts 3, 4 and 5 will provide efficacy reads over a 9 – 12 month period. However, HepC safety results are likely to offer a parallel validation of the company’s HepB potential, and are therefore seen to be a key milestone for engaging with prospective partners.

– Some very interesting discussions are commencing regarding the potential treatment of pre-transplant donor liver organs with TT-034 to avoid post-transplant reinfection with HepC. It is possible this work could be conducted in Australia, and that the approach has the potential to achieve breakthrough status from the FDA.

– The point was clearly made that the company has the necessary team, capability, and deal making experience to ensure that Benitec’s true potential is not undersold. The Board and executive team and have their eyes wide open, and are confident in their ability to realise the value inherent in the company’s intellectual property estate and clinical path.

– Regarding the recent addition of US institutional investors to the share register, it was underlined how rare it is for an Australian based company to be the subject of investment from groups with reputations (and investee portfolios) like that of RA Capital. The clear implication is that the due diligence conducted by these parties, and their subsequent investment reflects very well on the company, its management, and its future prospects.

– Nonetheless, Benitec intend to remain very conservative with their funds. They do not intend moving from their current offices, will consider only a small number of additional staff to support the increased clinical activity and international investor relations activity, and invest in some enhanced laboratory facilities to assist TT-034 and additional research activities. Put simply, the approach to cost management seems both prudent and conservative.

– All options are being considered for access to capital to support the company’s future activities, including a potential NASDAQ listing of Tacere. This is entirely appropriate IMO, and exhibits a genuine preparedness to consider all avenues, including leveraging the strong US networks now available to the company.

The session only served to strengthen my belief in the very bright future that lies ahead for Benitec. I also continue to be impressed by the high quality of t