Pacific Edge shares up 3.8% on US insurance provider deal
By Sophie Boot
Feb. 7 (BusinessDesk) - Pacific Edge's shares jumped despite broad-based selling on the local index today, after the cancer diagnostics company announced a deal with a US insurance provider network.
In a statement to the NZX, Pacific Edge said its agreement with MediNcrease Health Plans will make its Cxbladder tests available to 5.5 million covered lives through its clients and payers. Cxbladder is a suite of non-invasive laboratory tests for the detection and management of bladder cancer.
The shares rose 3.8 percent to 41 cents, while the S&P/NZX All Index was down 1.3 percent to 1,463.58 at the time. The local bourse has come under pressure today, following global sharemarkets lower after selling began in US markets over the weekend. Markets across Europe and Asia followed suit on Monday, with the local benchmark index down 2.1 percent, though it escaped heavy selling yesterday as it was closed for the Waitangi Day holiday.
Pacific Edge's chief executive David Darling said commercial agreements with provider networks were important for the company's presence in the US, as it minimises barriers for urologists who order Cxbladder tests for their patient care.
"This agreement will make Cxbladder tests accessible through MediNcrease’s client base of regional and national health plans, insurance companies, employers, municipalities, third-party administrators, unions and other companies involved in the management of medical claims and will help facilitate expedited payments to Pacific Edge," the company said. It did not disclose the value of the deal.
Last year, the Dunedin-based company reported a first-half net loss of $8.7 million, compared to a loss of $11.3 million a year earlier. Revenue lifted to $4.9 million from $3.8 million, while total operating expenses fell to $13.5 million from $15.1 million. Pacific Edge's laboratory throughput - which includes both commercial sales and tests from user program - was up 26 percent to 7,107 tests compared to the same period a year earlier.
The company raised $21.3 million in Oct. 2017 in a deeply discounted rights issue, which it said would fund its goal to break even in the 2019 financial year.