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Agenix--announcement today (biotech small sector g

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    AGENIX LIMITED 2002-05-14 ASX-SIGNAL-G
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    HOMEX - Brisbane
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    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Agenix is a now a constantly evolving company as we move to become a
    more customer and market driven organisation.
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    Our goal is to continue to provide products which improve people's
    lives, whether through the use of Milton Pharmaceutical products for
    babies or the AGEN Biomedical D-dimer test for patients with
    suspected blood clots.
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    For Agenix to continue to grow we must keep supplying products that
    are needed by our customers and which represent value for money. In
    many cases we will be able to charge more than our competitors,
    however we will provide superior performance and better value to
    customers. To take us further down this pathway we have made some
    structural changes by increasing the marketing functions of both
    Milton and AGEN to enable them to focus more on the customer and help
    us design better products. We are investing more into market research
    to better understand the customer and market, allowing us to present
    our products in their best position.
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    In order to carry out these plans, we will be increasing certain
    budgets. However we will continue to look for ways to do things more
    efficiently. As a result we do expect to increase our overall
    expenditure however we will continue to manage our business
    responsibly and invest wisely.
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    We are moving our major program, Thromboview(TM), from the Research
    and Development phase into the commercialisation phase. To achieve
    this, we are employing people with the necessary skills and drive to
    make this a world class product and one that provides the correct
    value equation for the health-care market. Concurrent with this is a
    move of the operations from its original beginnings at AGEN to under
    the direct guidance of Agenix.
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    FINANCIALS
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    Recently we released our half yearly financial results, that showed
    the business progressing well this year.
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    We achieved the following results;
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    2001 (6 mths) 2000 (6 mths) % increase
    Group Sales $18.8 million $11 million 66%
    AGEN $9.5 million $6.1 million 55%
    Milton $9.0 million $5.0 million 80%
    Jemaka $0.3 million $0.2 million 52%
    Operating Profit$1.9 million $0.5 million 272%
    Tax $0.2 million $0.2 million -
    Net Profit $1.7 million $0.3 million 435%
    EBITDAR $3.7 million $2.3 million 59%
    EPS 1.1 cents 0.3 cents 270%
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    Our existing businesses of AGEN and Milton are proving to be strong
    performers in their respective markets and we are continuing to focus
    operations on their core strengths.
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    AGEN
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    AGEN has continued to grow this past six months in both Human and
    Veterinary Diagnostics.
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    In the Human diagnostics market we are building upon the strong
    D-dimer market presence we already have and are preparing to launch
    new versions of the product to serve higher volume automated
    instruments. We expect that the testing market for D-dimer will move
    in this direction over the coming years and we are positioning AGEN
    to take advantage of this move. D-dimer demand continues to grow
    through increased public and medical community awareness. In
    Australia, AGEN has taken back the distribution rights to its
    products allowing it to control both the growth and the margin.
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    Our Veterinary business has shown robust growth, despite the effects
    of September 11 on our largest market, the USA. Late last year we
    renegotiated our Distribution Agreement with Synbiotics Corporation
    in the USA to provide us with more certainty and revenue for the
    future. As a part ofthis new agreement, AGEN is now distributing
    products directly to Japan, rather than through the USA. This will
    enable AGEN to derive a greater margin for product sales.
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    We anticipate that AGEN will continue to provide solid growth in both
    revenue and profit in the upcoming year.
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    MILTON
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    The past six months have been an exciting time for Milton, as we
    launch new products and move into a new business sector - fast moving
    consumer goods (FMCG) with the Milton product line extensions. The
    two core franchises within the Milton company, the traditional over
    the counter (OTC) pharmaceutical business and the new Milton FMCG
    products business, have both contributed to the strong interim
    results. As in previous years, the OTC business is characterised by
    solid sales and earnings typical of this business sector. We continue
    to evaluate the performance that we see in this business and look for
    ways in which we can grow.
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    Both at the end of last year andin March this year we increased our
    management strength in Milton through the addition of two new staff.
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    In March Andrew Farrington joined Milton as the new General Manager.
    Andrew was previously the General Manager of ColorCorp's Branded
    Merchandise division. He began his career in FMCG with Unilever, one
    of the world's largest FMCG companies. During his ten years there, he
    progressed rapidly through the organisation, and since joining Milton
    has begun to make a positive difference to the company. Lachlan
    McKinnon joined Milton as Marketing Manager, bringing strong FMCG
    marketing skills, which he developed through his years at Kraft,
    Warner Lambert, and, more recently, Blackmores.
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    Milton's new product launches have been successful overall, with most
    of the products achieving solid market share positions in their first
    few months. Ongoing reviews of the performance of these products will
    ensure that we are offering products that are in alignment with the
    Milton heritage and have significant growth opportunities.
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    2001/2002 is a year of brand development for Milton, and we will
    continue to invest in order to establish market share and brand
    awareness. As such, we expect it to continue to operate at a trading
    loss for this year. In the next financial year, we expect Milton to
    build from its current position and to operate profitably.
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    THROMBOVIEW (TM)
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    Clearly the greatest long-term opportunity for growth resides with
    this program. Agenix is committed to deliver this product in the
    shortest possible timeframe to assist in the diagnosis of Deep Vein
    Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolism (PE). Considerable progress
    has been made since my last newsletter and I would like to briefly
    touch on some of the most important points.
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    A recent addition to the Thromboview(TM) team is Helen Roberts, who
    takes up the position of Director of Marketing. Helen comes to us
    with more than 13 years' experience in pharmaceutical sales,
    marketing and product development in both large multinational
    companies such as Bayer and Merck Sharp and Dohme and small
    biotechnology companies such as Avax. With a strong background in
    sales and marketing, a degree in Medical Science and an MBA, Helen is
    well qualified to provide direction for the Thromboview(TM)
    commercialisation. Helen's experience will guide the team through the
    product development and trials needed to launch our initial sales of
    Thromboview(TM).
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    As previously announced, we have successfully manufactured the
    Thromboview(TM) antibody under Good Laboratory Practice (GLP)
    conditions. This proves that we can successfully manufacture
    commercial scale amounts of material in a controlled environment. The
    second production run of antibody is currently in progress.
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    The Thromboview(TM) program is in the process of moving from under
    the auspices of AGEN to Agenix. This change has been made for several
    strategically important reasons:
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    1. AGEN will be able to focus on its core businesses of Human and
    Veterinary diagnostics and maximise its growth and profitability
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    2. Thromboview(TM) will progress in developing its own culture and
    business practices. These are essential for its growth as a
    pharmaceutical-style company
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    3. This structure will support new development programs. Programs to
    be evaluated in the coming year include Targeted Anticoagulant (TAC)
    and Medical DeviceAnti-clotting Treatments (MDAT)
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    Thromboview(TM) continues to progress well in preparation for Phase I
    clinical trials in November this year and we are confident that we
    will continue to reach our milestones and successfully launch this
    product on time.
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    WHAT NEW PROGRAMS ARE WE STARTING AND WHY ARE WE DOING THEM?
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    The new structure allows us to accelerate our Thromboview(TM) program
    and expand our activities to include the development of new blood
    clot treatments such as TAC and MDAT.
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    Agenix is committed to improving the diagnosis and treatment of blood
    clot related disorders. Two Research and Development programs which
    build on our unique humanised antibodies are currently under
    evaluation. Both will address significant markets if successful.
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    THE TAC PROGRAM
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    The TAC program is designed to look for new forms of treatment for
    existing blood clots. Currently blood clots are treated using a
    variety of therapeutic processes including surgery and
    pharmaceuticals. The use of surgery is generally limited to those
    blood clots which are too large to be treated with an anticoagulant
    drug and which, therefore, have to be removed using alternative
    means. Options include open surgery or the use of catheters to remove
    the clot.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------Pharmaceuticals can be given intravenously, subcutaneously or orally.
    However, as with the use of most drugs, there are important
    considerations prior to commencing therapy including side-effects and
    contraindications. The TAC program will investigate the ability of
    humanised antibodies to deliver a therapeutic dose of anticoagulant
    directly to the clot. This significantly reduces the amount of drug
    circulating throughout the remainder of the body and therefore
    reduces side effects. This approach has been used successfully in
    other diseases and has enormous potential to provide a suitable
    therapeutic response while reducing or eliminating side-effects and
    contraindications. Laboratory experiments have shown that when a
    heparin molecule is attached to the humanised antibody and this new
    compound is added to a clot, the process of clot formation is slowed
    or stopped.
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    There are many possible drug candidates which could be used with the
    humanised antibody, including heparins, warfarin, streptokinases and
    staphylokinases. These drugs have different modes of action and
    effectiveness and Agenix will examine and compare their actions when
    attached to the humanised antibody. From these studies we will be
    able to determine the correct candidates for the intended use.
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    As a follow-on program from TAC, we will investigate a method to
    control or prevent the formation of clots caused by the long-term
    placement of medical devices within a patient.
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    We will be evaluating stents, shunts and central catheter lines -
    devices used for the long-term injection of drugs.
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    When a foreign device such as a stent is placed in an artery to open
    it and provide blood flow, the body reacts by forming a clot as the
    first step in the healing process. The clots, which form, are
    unstable and often break away and circulate throughout the body,
    sometimes causing a pulmonary embolism, stroke or other occlusive
    damage. Companies have attempted to resolve these problems by coating
    stents and other medical devices with special coatings or drugs such
    as heparin. None of these solutions have eliminated the problem, and
    thuswe are looking at the use of a TAC type product to address this
    issue. Again, the use of humanised antibodies to direct the drugs to
    the source of the clot is more effective and preferable to a much
    higher systemic dosing of the patient as is current practice.
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    These new programs are designed to maximise the opportunities that we
    can gain from the use of the humanised antibody as a platform
    technology. We will continue to explore new uses and expanded claims
    as we move forward in the development programs.
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    SUMMARY
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    Agenix continues to grow as one the few profitable biotechnology
    companies in Australia and it is our intent to use this financial
    platform to push further ahead with our development plans for the
    Thromboview(TM) and the use of the human antibody platform
    technology.
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    By continuing to focus and grow our existing businesses, we will have
    the means to develop our next generation of products, allowing us to
    continue to grow and prosper as a company.
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    We continue to look towards the short and long term future with great
    enthusiasm and optimism and as a company will continue to strive to
    deliver our milestones on time and on budget.
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