Written on the 24 February 2016 by Jenna Rathbone


CANCER treatment biotech Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX) has seen a surge in profits in the first half of FY16, driven by an increase in dose sales for the company's targeted radiation therapy products.  

The Sydney-based global healthcare business, which is working to improve outcomes in people with cancer, lifted its first-half FY16 profit by 46.9 per cent to $25.9 million, relative to last year.

Meanwhile, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased 55.9 per cent to $34.9 million, mainly driven by strong dose sales.

Sirtex's main product, the SIR-Spheres microspheres, is a targeted radioactive treatment for liver cancer.

The SIR-Spheres microspheres lodge in the small blood vessels of a tumour where they aim to destroy it from the inside while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.

During the half-year, Sirtex sold 5728 doses worldwide, representing less than 2 per cent of the addressable market, but an increase of more than 15 per cent compared to the prior corresponding period.

America continues to be the most attractive market for the treatment, with 4028 doses sold in the US in the first half of FY16, up 18.8 per cent.

The company says this growth in America is a result of Sirtex's 'deep and wide' strategy, which aims to increase the number of procedures within existing treatment sites and also new treatment sites certified to use SIR-Spheres microspheres.

During the six months ending December 31, the number of hospitals in America certified to use Sirtex's treatment increased by 17.7 per cent to 533.

Meanwhile, dose sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa were up 8.8 per cent to 1219 units while dose sales in the Asia Pacific region jumped 9.3 per cent to 481 units.

In a statement to the ASX, CEO Gilman Wong says the first-half result is consistent with the company's dose sales objectives for the full financial year.

"We remain focused on ensuring that SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres is available to as many patients as possible through the expansion of certified treatment sites, trained clinicians, high quality clinical data and access to government or private reimbursement," he says.

The company posted record revenue of $112.6 million for the first half, up 40 per cent from the prior corresponding period.  Global staff numbers also grew 22.3 per cent to 269.

No interim dividend was declared. The company paid a 20c fully-franked dividend for FY15 in October.

Shares are currently trading around 6 per cent lower than this morning's opening price, at $33.94.

Picture: a full delivery set of SIR-Spheres Y-90 resin microspheres and administration tools

Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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