Botanix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:BOT) Founder and Executive Director Matthew Callahan discusses Australia’s biotech sector outlook and opportunities with The Capital Network’s Executive Director Lelde Smits.
Mr Callahan discusses developments and deals in the sector and highlights Australian stocks to watch including biotechnology companies Viralytics Limited (ASX:VLA) (developing oncolytic immunotherapy treatments for a range of cancers in Australia) and Oncosil Medical (ASX:OSL) (medical device company focused on interventional oncology in the pancreas).
Lelde Smits: Hello, I’m Lelde Smits for The Capital Network and joining me from Botanix Pharmaceuticals is it’s founder and executive director, Matthew Callahan. Matthew, welcome.
Matthew Callahan: Thank you.
Lelde Smits: Now you are an expert in the life sciences industry. When it comes to Australia, what are the trends that you are really noticing at the moment?
Matthew Callahan: So I think it is a really exciting time in biotech in Australia at the moment. Not only is there a lot of capital being invested in the industry here but we are starting to see some significant exits of ASX listed companies being acquired by international companies and Viralytics’ recent $500 million exit is a great example of that.
Lelde Smits: What other deals have perhaps been on your radar that you think are worthy of investor attention?
Matthew Callahan: So there’s a number of great Australian companies that are developing fantastic technology and rapidly developing products through the clinic. Oncosil comes to mind, is a very well supported company in this market but there’s are a number of other companies that are beginning to move beyond the early stage that Australian companies are generally known for based on great science through to development stage assets that can be transacted.
Lelde Smits: Now, when it comes to the company that you founded, Botanix Pharmaceuticals, your focus on the dermatology sector and really finding solutions for the problems that people with skin may suffer with. Where do you see that global opportunity at? What, again from an investor perspective, why should they be excited about dermatology?
Matthew Callahan: Well, dermatology is a fantastic industry. It’s about a $40 billion market worldwide and there’s been very little innovation occur in this industry over the latest 20 years. For instance, there has been no new products approved to treat acne in the last 20 years. So, there’s really good opportunities for new products to come to market that are safe, provide new solutions for patients and that’s what we are doing at Botanix. We have two programs going to phase 2 studies at the moment which makes us one of the more mature dermatology companies in the world.
Lelde Smits: So finally, Matthew, what do you believe are the most exciting areas that investors should be looking at in the life sciences industry?
Matthew Callahan: Well, I think there are a number. I mean, we are seeing fantastic strides being made in both gene therapy and immunotherapy; creating new solutions, particularly for things like intractible cancers where there have been no effective therapies. We are seeing cures of many dramatic diseases and I think this science driven approach that life sciences are now very much focused on has moved us away from the generic approach and into an exciting new area of research.
Lelde Smits: Wonderful, thank you for your insights today.
Matthew Callahan: Thank you.