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select vaccines looks to bright

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    Select Vaccines looks to bright future


    Karen Tso


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    EMMA ALBERICI: Panbio's breakthrough in the US is another example of the reawakening of the Australian biotechnology sector.

    Events of recent months are drawing comparisons to the heady days of the IT boom, with former mining companies now evolving into biotechs.

    Karen Tso looks at another biotech firm on the way up.

    KAREN TSO: Select Vaccines is one of the newest biotech companies to list on the Stock Exchange.

    While the company has no commercial contracts so far, it's the promise of what it could deliver that has created shareholder interest.

    Select Vaccines has a commercial contract with the Burnett Institute in Melbourne, to develop and commercialise its research and development projects.

    One of the projects is a rapid diagnostic kit for testing hepatitis.

    MARTIN SOUST, MD, SELECT VACCINES: We're confident we can get them into the marketplace within 12 months through a manufacturer and distributor, who we would licence that technology to.

    We've already commenced some discussions along that path.

    And the technology is being evaluated as we speak in Singapore by a diagnostic's manufacturer.

    KAREN TSO: Select Vaccines hasn't signed a commercial contract yet and has no idea of the revenues its testing kits could earn if they make it to market.

    But in its first two days on the Stock Exchange, Select Vaccines doubled from 20 cents a share -- the price offered to shareholders in a prospectus.

    MARTIN SOUST: The market probably has turned a little bit and I think this is probably a signal that the biotech market is starting to see a little bit of resurgence, maybe ahead of the rest of the market, hopefully that's the case.

    KAREN TSO: But investors in this particular stock haven't been so lucky in the past.

    Select Vaccines has opted for a backdoor listing via a Shell company, which previously operated as a gold miner and then a telco.

    Both ventures were unsuccessful, leaving many investors out of pocket.

    Select Vaccines warned in its prospectus that investing in a company should be regarded as speculative.

    MARTIN SOUST: The risks could be as simple as other people beating you to the mark -- which is always the case in medical research -- or they could be risks that the research program fails.

    We think we've mitigated that risk in most cases.

    We know that we're working with a leading research institute, one that's been in the infectious diseases business for several decades and they are leaders in the field.

    KAREN TSO: Select Vaccines also has several other projects in the pipeline, such as a vaccine delivery service.

    The company needs only one winner to be an overnight success.

    Karen Tso, Business Breakfast.

    EMMA ALBERICI: Select Vaccines closed 0.5 cent lower yesterday at 33.5 cents.

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