Exalenz Bioscience Ltd. (TASE:EXEN), which has developed a system for diagnosing diseases in the digestive tract by testing the composition of air in the patient's mouth, will commence a multi-center clinical trial for the liver. The trial will confirm the capability of the company's device to diagnose high blood pressure in the vascular artery of the liver, a condition indicating the presence of various liver diseases.
Exalenz Bioscience's share price rose 2% today, giving the company a NIS 83.5 million market cap. The company's largest shareholder is former Agis owner and active biomedical investor Mori Arkin, who currently owns 60% of the company. Migdal Insurance and Financial Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MGDL) owns 13%.
Intravenous blood pressure testing in the liver is one of the tests the company has decided to promote, after obtaining strategic advice in recent years. The company formerly had a multi-faceted development program for the liver, but it was suspended in 2012 when the company became short of cash, and Exalenz Bioscience decided to concentrate on a product for diagnosing H. pylori disease (bacteria that causes stomach ulcers).
After the markets recovered and the company's financial situation improved (and it replaced its CEO), it decided to renew its development of liver diagnosis products: for diagnosing fatty liver and liver cancer (primarily for the developing countries market) and intravenous blood pressure in the liver. A new drug is now reaching the global market for viral hepatitis, a common disease, and an intravenous liver test can monitor the effect of such drugs on hepatitis patients. Current intravenous liver tests are invasive, and are therefore rarely used.
Company sales based on the H. pylori product totaled NIS 6.2 million in the first half of 2014, 24% higher than in the corresponding period last year. The company posted an NIS 18.1 million loss and a negligible gross profit for this period. Exalenz Bioscience recently switched to direct marketing in the US, which is likely to improve its gross profit. The company is also beginning marketing in China.
At the end of the first half of 2014, Exalenz Bioscience had NIS 17.3 million in cash. The company made a public offering in August, raising NIS 12 million.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 21, 2014
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