This cancer-fighting biotech wants to be our next household name

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Cancer-fighting biotech Telix Pharmaceuticals hopes to follow in the footsteps of CSL to become a household name in healthcare, as the company builds on the success of its prostate cancer imaging tool and works on new products for kidney and brain cancer.

Telix boss Christian Behrenbruch said the company was just getting started after revealing on Tuesday it had hit $100.1 million in quarterly revenue. This was powered by sales of its first commercial product, Illuccix, which helps to pinpoint the recurrence of prostate cancer at an earlier stage than other products.

Telix boss Christian Behrenbruch says the company is just getting started.Credit: Simon Schluter

Telix shares rocketed by more than 10 per cent on Tuesday to an all-time high of $8.82 throughout the session after the business also recorded its second consecutive quarter of positive cash flow – a rarity for a listed biotech company.

Behrenbruch said the numbers showed the Melbourne-based drug developer could successfully commercialise an in-demand product, and that he was excited to bring imaging and treatment tools for renal and brain cancer to market in the future.

“Five years on from our IPO – from a $100 million market cap – we are now generating $100 million in quarterly revenue,” he said.

“If you take that as a trajectory, if we continue to execute, there’s no reason why we can’t continue to massively grow the business.”

Telix’s market capitalisation now sits beyond $2.5 billion, placing it among the country’s 10 largest listed healthcare companies. Asked whether the company has the potential to reach the scale of $144 billion blood plasma giant CSL, Behrenbruch said there were similarities between the two businesses.

“We [also] have a product with a complicated supply chain, and we have a deep commitment to patients. That is what makes us stand out,” he said.

Telix shares have returned more than 1060 per cent since listing in 2017, but the stock has also felt volatility as investors sold off the biotech sector heavily post-pandemic. “Last year was brutal for biotech,” Behrenbruch said.

Behrenbruch owns 400,000 shares in the business, according to Bloomberg, worth more than $3.5 million based on the price on Tuesday afternoon.

‘For the team what is exciting is now we get those letters from patients, [saying] “your product changed my life”.’

The business raised $175 million from investors in January 2022 with shares at $7.70 each, but the stock has stayed below this point for much of the 2023 calendar year until this week.

Long-awaited US approvals for Telix’s prostate cancer imaging tool Illuccix came through at the end of 2021, after the company had weathered two years of pandemic disruptions in the biotech sector for products not related to COVID.

“If I had known how hard this journey was going to be during the pandemic, if I had known how hard the journey was going to be, I might have wavered,” Behrenbruch said.

“For the team what is exciting is now we get those letters from patients, [saying] ‘your product changed my life’.”

The business is now working on expanding global sales and reach of Illuccix, as well as developing new products for imaging and treating brain and kidney disease.

The company’s numbers impressed analysts, with Jefferies raising its price target for the stock to $14.20. Its analysts are estimating the business could hit $1 billion in revenue in 2025, and generate a profit of $290.6 million.

Health and biotech stocks were sold off globally throughout 2022 as the market adjusted after pandemic lockdowns, but the sector has bounced back during this calendar year. The ASX200 Healthcare index is up by 8.6 per cent so far this year.

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