The TSX, TSXV, CSE and NEO exchanges list over 4,000 companies, a daunting number for any investor to sort through.
Parsing prospective opportunities from also-rans begins with narrowing down your investable universe, leaving only companies whose value propositions mark a clear path forward.
In the interest of expediting that task for TMH readers, our new series, Anatomy of a Flagship Asset, introduces you to the most promising projects and products making waves in the Canadian stock market.
mRNA’s life-saving capabilities
StageZero Life Sciences is dedicated to early cancer detection, when it is least costly and most curable.
The disease is now the #1 catastrophic claim for self-funded health care plans, which represents a target market of over 100 million employees across North America.
The company’s solutions are based on its Sentinel Principle, which holds that all clinical conditions and body states generate identifiable gene expression signatures in the blood. This entails that changes in cells due to injury or disease are present and actionable before patients exhibit symptoms meriting medical attention.
Once a cancer’s specific molecular biomarker is discovered, a oncologist-supervised intervention program can take steps that improve outcomes with the benefit of more time compared to conventional care.
The Sentinel Principle is the underlying technology for the first liquid biopsy for colorectal cancer, ColonSentry. ColonSentry was validated on 9,000 patients and has been used on more than 100,000 patients in North America.
The principle also informs the company’s pioneering Aristotle multi-cancer test technology, which uses mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) – a form of nucleic acid that helps the human genome, which is coded in DNA, to be understood by human cells – to detect multiple cancer signatures from a single sample of blood.
Faithful to its focus on groundshot cures, not moonshot cures, StageZero’s Aristotle multi-cancer blood test uses mRNA technology to simultaneously detect numerous cancer signatures. These cancers include:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Liver cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Bladder cancer
With the ability to identify the disease in a convenient manner and before obvious symptoms occur, Aristotle could significantly enhance millions of lives among the almost 50 per cent of cancer patients diagnosed in later stages. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, there were over 18 million active cancer cases across the world in 2020.
Aristotle’s potential benefits are not only financial but emotional as well, as the following two charts demonstrate:
The cost of cancer diagnosis
Cancer survival rates for early and late detection
Faced with an at-risk addressable market that grows in the millions every year, StageZero is structured to follow through on early detection with tailored early intervention programs to get at the glimmer of hope embedded in cancer’s profile; namely, that 40 per cent of the most common cancers are preventable through behaviour modification.
AVRT cancer prevention program
The company’s AVRT program identifies early risk factors for cancer and offers participants actionable information to make their lifestyles more sustainable.
These factors, which include obesity, diabetes, chronic inflammation and insulin resistance, are countered through data interpretation and risk-reduction prescriptions managed by StageZero’s Care Oncology clinic, a specialist in metabolic therapy that uses conventional pharmaceuticals to attempt to restrict cancer cells’ ability to use energy.
AVRT can also help to hone in on silent health issues such as hypertension, high cholesterol, kidney disease and liver disease, expanding StageZero’s efforts at reducing poor outcomes and high costs for patients, employers and health plans.
Backed by funding more than 2x larger than its C$9.4 million market cap, the company is on a path to expanding relationships with employers, insurers, clinics and healthcare systems.
Potential investors should keep tabs on the latest news releases for solid evidence of growing adoption, supported by diversified expert opinion, with the ultimate goal of Health Canada or U.S. FDA approval.
For the time being, StageZero Life Sciences’ (SZLS) minimal revenue and loss-making ways are par for the course among microcap healthcare issuers vying for market recognition of how brilliantly they answer an unmet need.
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