That covers questions 1, 2 and 4.
I would trust that my earlier response was clear regarding the original anticipated dates, communicated with the original AVCT RNS and the reality of what they are achieving. They are currently ahead of schedule and giving everything to get their tests out to market as quickly as possible and beating every self imposed deadline they have set so far.
The form says they will continue that way.
1. How can a diagnostics & therapeutics company such as AVCT completely miss a global pandemic?
2. Why did AVCT only begin prepping its affimers in mid-March when the virus arrived in December?
3. Was AVCT'S 'ahead of schedule' RNS on 22/4/20 misleading, given the CEO'S announcement last week that its test will only be available in the 'middle of summer'? When, exactly, is the 'middle of summer'?
4. How did AVCT end up being 9 months behind a comparable diagnostics company such as NCYT whose test was released in January?
To be fair VanV, and please do take this in the spirit of progressing the debate, it is imperative that facts are maintained for what they are and not stretched out too easily.
Your first question implies AVCT missed the pandemic. I answered this by pointing out that the pandemic was not declared until 11th March and that even Italy, did not see its first cases until 31st January.
Tying this back into question 4 and your 9 months behind statement, NCYT launched their Covid test on 31st Jan 2020 "as a direct response to the recent outbreak of the respiratory virus in China" but for research purposes only. They then launched their CE Marked test on 17th Feb.
AVCT as it currently stands is aiming for mid Summer, so c. end of July but that is for a fully certified consumer test, which requires greater regulatory approval. The BAM test, which isn't a consumer product, is expected to be on the market by June.
Therefore, the reality is that AVCT will have at least 1 product on the market, within c. 4 ,months of NYCT and given that NYCT took a flyer on what was a China based virus at that time (which I applaud, given the wider result it has given them), it is not unreasonable to understand why AVCT wouldn't be so willing to change direction on their other projects, until it became clear that it was going to be a much wider problem (Italy 31st January. AVCT start creating Affimers mid March.)
Taking account of project preparation time, we are likely talking maximum 4 week running room.
As I said earlier, I see little worth in the comparison but if these questions are to be raised, then it is critical that the facts stand up. 9 months is easy to present but the reality is far removed from that and so the size of the perceived error also.
@VanV I am struggling to appreciate the relevance of these questions to the investment case other than a concern over management integrity, drive and their ability to deliver. But on that basis alone I am willing to entertain them.
Firstly, the WHO did not declare Covid a world pandemic until 11th March 2020. AVCT began producing Affimers for their Covid test in mid March. Arguments could be made that things could have been done differently but such analysis is uncalled for if the progress being made, delivers considerable shareholder value, which is will if the test is as good as the company feels it is capable of.
Question 2 has already been answered. AVCT is serious company with a potentially very lucrative pipeline and how they place their staff, must be determined by the opportunities available. Covid would have needed to have proven itself to be a sizeable enough opportunity to re-direct staff from other projects. Given that in December, this was still very much an Asian based outbreak and that Covid didn't even spread to Italy until 31st January, the mid March project start, very much points to a balanced reaction, once the outbreak was more confirmed, as opposed to an opportunist one, that other companies have followed.
3. The schedule was not misleading because the first communication by AVCT on 8th April stated they were targeting ;
"Affimer reagents for a COVID-19 test by the end of May" and that they expected to be out to market by late Summer.
The reagents were not only sent to Cytiva on 11th May but also Adeptrix and several other yet unknown but clearly substantial other parties. Plus the target out to market date improved to mid Summer.
That's a much better result than first communicated.
That AVCT are perceived to be 9 months behind the likes of NCYT bears no relevance to the investment case here. The constant need to compare companies is in my opinion, time wasted. The market is substantial and will be available over an extended period of time. As time goes on, those tests that are easiest to use, are most accurate, or deliver the greatest cost benefit to organisations, health care authorities, governments, will rise to the top, whether they are perceived to have started late or not.
Personally, I would rather see a more thorough development process than a rushed one, that delivers may well deliver stronger upfront revenues but that falls to the wayside, as stronger backed candidates begin to rise and post immediate panic, customers begin to realise that they can be more choosy.
The path is set and the success is there to be reached for and if it is indeed grabbed, then i certainly won't be reaching out to the CEO, to ask why we didn't start things a tad bit earlier. I will be congratulating him and his team because if successful, they will highly likely be bringing the "very best" consumer based antigen test to a very welcoming market place.
@BonesR619W I agree regarding the wider story and have myself been invested since prior to the Covid test announcement.
Clearly a successful Covid test could well mean substantial revenues, well beyond what the current MC demonstrates. So as you will appreciate, it is bound to take centre stage right now.
However, it is important also because the revenues it generates, have the ability to substantially de-risk the funding for AVCTs other bigger and potentially far more lucrative platforms, which in turn, potentially allows for greater value retention in them.
However, that successful test also helps demonstrate the strength of the Affimer platform at a time when a great many more eyes and partners are on it. So there is much to be more to be gained from this test doing what it says it will and well.
@Mookster AVCT have been clear that they will be securing further sales routes;
From the 6th May presentation ;
"we'll be putting in place other test strip manufacturing partners and OEM partners because the production capacity, considering what we expect the demand for this test to be, cannot be supported with a single partner.”
"We own all the commercial rights. So the types of manufacturing relationships we have will be either licensing and OEM. So a 3rd party can manufacture and produce the test under its own name."
I suspect the reason we haven't yet heard about further partnerships is because those partners perhaps want to validate the reagents, prior to signing on the dotted line. That they exist is abundantly clear because they have been sent reagents, which must be under some form of confidentiality agreement.
I have said previously that I like the look of SPD (JV between Abbots Alere and Proctor & Gamble) but there are a great many more options, if the reagents are as good as we are led to believe.
Its important to remember the speed and cost effectiveness, with which these reagents can be produced compared to competing technologies. That is a highly desirable edge that the likes of Alere will be keen to exploit for themselves but lets wait and see.
Yes Stanman I agree wholeheartedly and it is language that is often seen on very active shares.
However good an investment looks, however certain investors are in its success, it is a very dangerous game to be backing it to the hilt and anyone who encourages such behavior, is reckless with themselves because they are talking to people they don't even know, whose personal circumstances they aren't tuned into.
Any share can go sour at any time and we have to be able to live with the consequences if they do.
I believe very strongly in AVCTs chances of success but that is my opinion only and it is up to each and every individual to decide for themselves, by researching at thoroughly as they can. Blind trust in anonymous contributors will more often than not, lead to ruin.
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If you listen to the presentation again, you will note that this comment was made immediately after he spoke about those other test strip manufacturers. So AVCT have/are already providing Affimers to other (still to be announced) test strip partners.
Again, its a significant move to communicate that to the market prior to knowing how good your test is because without knowing the quality, one cannot be so bold as to call Cytiva out, for not having enough capacity to deal with the expected demand. An important signal in all of this.
Despite this, solace only comes once the words are in black and white, and in the meantime emotions will undoubtedly continue to play their games.
For me successful investing is about finding management teams that do what they say they will and don't tell me things that they then go on to fail at. That gives me the ability to dissect what they say and find more answers than I have been given.
Alastair Smith is a solid straight talking Yorkshire man who demonstrates confidence in his team and the abilities of the Affimer platform. To date, I trust what he says, such that these signals demonstrating the confidence are very much worthy of backing.
When he says very good, then I expect he knows what these Affimer based tests are capable of and that they will be good enough to deliver those high levels of demand, that he feels he can so readily talk about.
If so, then demand is not the issue here, which makes it all about speed of manufacture and delivery to market because if they are that good, then regulatory approval will be a formality.
Its important to keep one's feet on the ground and take things step by step but in reality, if we weren't invested and merely watching this develop from the sidelines, then the actions and achievements of the company to date, would make it clear, just how close AVCT are here. The trouble is those emotions will inevitably keep flooding back in, as the desire to keep finding problems persists, drowning the reality in its wake.
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Emotions play a very strong role in how we invest, how we react and can be our worst enemy even at the best of times.
Despite being told things rather directly, as investors with busy lives, we do have a tendency to forget. This is often then amplified by over focusing on the potential negative scenarios. Not that such tactics do not have worth, its more that it tends to drain our energy and lead to those emotions running away once more.
Right now, AVCT is progressing towards its prototype with two companies on two tests. That in itself should offer some comfort, as it shares the load somewhat. That's not to say the BAMS test is an equal partner in all of this, more that the current valuations that we are witnessing, can be strongly supported if not added to, by success on either test.
To move one stage further, at the results presentation from 6th May, CEO Alastair Smith stated that ;
“We have developed a number of lateral flow tests (LFT) ourselves and so have partners. Some of those evaluations that we talked about being successfully completed, are exactly for LFTs”
“We can have a great deal of confidence that LFTs using Affimers can be developed. So I think we should be confident that the test will be developed”
"Historically, the tests we have developed with Affimers have been very good, in terms of sensitivity and specificity. So we expect that to be the case here as well.”
3 really strong statements as to what should be expected of the tests, when they are validated and CE marked.
However, it is plain to see that concern remains that the actual outcome will be below expectations and the market potentially disappointed. At this point it is important to appreciate that high sensitivity and/or specificity, does not have to mean 99.9%. The perceived competition isn't delivering those sorts of numbers, so to expect that from AVCT is perhaps a little too much.
The key is to be sufficient good enough to lead the market and be accurate enough to warrant large scale roll out.
Now this is where it gets interesting for me because the actions of the AVCT team, already point towards a belief that that level of quality is there.
A great example of this is the wording used by Mr Smith in that presentation, where he says ;
"we'll be putting in place other test strip manufacturing partners and OEM partners because the production capacity, considering what we expect the demand for this test to be, cannot be supported with a single partner.”
One doesn't say such things so early in then process, if sufficient data does not yet to exist to back it up.
He went on to say ;
“Over the last 10 days or so, we have been manufacturing reasonably large quantities of the Affimers that we’ve generated, in order to provide quantities to Cytiva and the others that I’ve mentioned and those will be shipped in the next few days”
@Chengdo4 I cannot offer a comprehensive answer to your question but I can provide the following ;
AVCT's work on the Zika virus was a collaboration with The Native Antigen Company (see article below). AVCT employed the NAC's Zika NS1 protein to produce 3 distinct Affimer reagents.
"These reagents are capable of behaving like antibodies to bind to Zika NS1 and form the basis of new immunoassays."
In 2018 the very same company announced the launch of a "new Zika immunoassays with unprecedented specificity and sensitivity." (see below).
There is no direct mention of AVACTA in this release and I have been unable to find a further link between the companies on this immunoassay.
It is of course very convenient that the NAC went on to release this ELISA kit based Zike immunoassay, some 2 years after the highly succcessful AVCT collaboration. However, AVCT does have a number of commercial relationships with undesignated clients, whose names are not released for commercial reasons. That said, I must reiterate that there is no direct link to be found, other than the previous 2016 collaboration.
The test was reported to have "sensitivity of 90.3% and specificity of 92.1%."
"This compared favourably with direct testing against a market-leading IgG assay that exhibited only 69.4% specificity."
Trust that helps.
I would add 2 things to that statement borrowed from AVCT.
Firstly, CEO Alastair Smith has, certainly to me anyway, proven himself to be a stand up straight talking CEO, who is not partial to bloated statements.
Secondly, what he said in the presentation latest update was ;
"The consenus view is that hundreds of millions of antigen tests will be required per month to support the fight against the pandemic and initial easing of the lock down during 2020, and to deal with the long term challenge of endemic COVID-19"
So no reference to Antibody tests. That is purely about have I got Covid right now?
As good as AVCT in terms of potential and as successful as their home and mass spectrometer tests, should go on to be, they will not be in business until at least mid Summer.
GDR should be in business by the end of this month and given the numbers involved, are more than capable of ramping up to and continuing to secure, a steady +2m sales line, for a start. I say start because with success and revenues comes further opportunity.
However, I would be more than happy to see this company selling 2m a month.
I am also absolutely flabbergasted that an antibody test would receive so much attention on a BB for a company that is producing a antigen test.
Antibody tests are going to be in high demand and will get some of those much needed key workers back to work. However, as the recent French study demonstrates, the numbers of people that have had Covid, is still very low (France stated as being 4.4%). Double it, treble it if you will, it still leaves the vast majority in the have I got it now bracket, which means an antigen test.
I believe there is far too much analysis of current testing capacities, when said capacities are based on what these governments currently have available to them. If better quality tests in larger quantities were available, they would buy them up straight away. Furthermore, pretty much all testing right now i being judged on what governments and health authorities are achieving. They haven't even really begun to consider home testing because those tests aren't on the market.
Once they are then numbers tested moves away from central government and onto private business and private individual. A massive step change in how countries will manage this virus and open up their businesses and their economies.
If economies are going to truly get going again, then it won't be government led. It will be a great many desperate businesses, that don't have time to wait for their leaders to sort their lives out. That only truly starts once home based rapid testing is available in sufficient quantities. Once that happens then a great many of these hospital based tests should start to recede, as health care facilities get back to doing their day jobs and serving all persons who are sick and not just Covid.
Excellent post SiriusB. I would just like to add that with the greatest of respect intended, UK investors have got to get their heads out of their UK based sand.
Covid is a worldwide problem with several big nations (Brazil, Russia to name but 2), struggling to even get their curve under control.
I am Germany based. A country that has performed exceptionally well during this virus outbreak. However, even here, there are currently no plans for mass gatherings to be allowed. There is limited air traffic. Restaurants and bars will soon open but they will have to operate at reduced capacity and under strict guidelines. They will be in business but business will not be good enough.
How many tests the UK is or is not ordering (never mind the format, design and fundamental basis of the test), is a drop in the ocean compared to what the world as whole is trying and needs to achieve.
@Peckhamrye1 My understanding is that not everybody has to be tested all of the time but clearly the more one can test, the more surety can be given, that any one event or facility, will not lead to a further outbreak of the virus.
If the top 100 nations in the world only averaged 200,000 tests per day, we are talking 20m tests worldwide, or 600m a month.
As faster easier to use tests come to the fore, the hospital based tests, (which we must not forget take up valuable time and prevent those staff, from doing their normal in demand jobs, or working on other equally important viruses and diseases) will start to fall away or be replaced with tests that need less staff or materials.
This is about phases. Governments will want to drive more testing but where possible drive down costs and burden on their services.
Key quote from 5th May RNS ;
"The exact performance characteristics of the assay will be determined following data generated with the production batches of assay, and finalised at the point of CE marking."
This very much ties in with the photo and comment posted by Genedrive on their LInkedin account yesterday.
So its looks very much like GDR are producing production batches, right now, ahead of launch.
Anybody can try to sell the idea that the SP could would drop lower but it is of little significance right now.
GDR is about to go live with its test.
@O&W I believe even the very best of us continue to be in denial about Covid. It appears that the human mind isn't capable of coming to terms with the magnitude of what Covid means, for our lives moving forward. A great many still believe that we wake up one day and its all gone away. Or that all we have to do is get the new infections down to zero and life goes back to normal.
We see 10m tests a month and think well that has surely got to have it covered and those plays we are backing might never see the light of day.
I would think the same thoughts have resonated through even the most ardent investors because as i say, it is difficult to contemplate the reality.
There appears to be a disconnection between what the common man/woman thinks and what governments, repsected organisations and medical professionals, keep trying to tell us all, time and time again. Covid is highly likely here to stay. It is highly likely going to be endemic and we are going to need mass testing to get our lives back to normal.
Yes we might get back to our offices. We might get to drink outside, perhaps even inside, our favourite bars and restaurants but 100% of the life we had before, simply isn't coming back anytime soon.
Those bars and restaurants, those theme parks, those aeroplanes, those cinemas, music venues and football stadiums, cannot operate at full capacity, even when Covid numbers are running low. That means that the vast majority, do not have a viable long term future, because 50% does not pay the bills.
Right now there is simply too much focus on what governments are achieving and aiming for with testing because right now that is all we truly have. WE haven't even seen the affects that rapid over the counter testing can/will do to the numbers, to the demand.
In the meantime, many goivernements are covering up the cracks in their organisation, by proclaiming that 100k, 200k, whatever, is enough to get people back to work. But that's simply not true. If they capacity was there to go harder and faster, they would take it all right now.
I can't say that GDR has a long term future in Covid testing but it certainly has a large front end window to exploit, with which to help it cement its financial position and strive to make its other products better and more widely sold.
That's because right now, world wide, governments and agencies are failing on the testing front..
If we then start to add in competitive advantage, ease of use etc etc. Then it is clear that there is a market there, no matter what other bigger names are doing or proclaiming. Headlines are just that. The devil is always in the detail.
@Pdub Whatever people think or whatever differences they may have had with you here, nobody can deny your unwavering commitment and belief, in the BMN cause. You have stood your ground through it all and for that I salute you.
You are a BMN legend and my heart goes out to you and your family for the journey you have now been asked to travel.
@O&W All understood and fully appreciated. I assume you are tying your figures back to the Crowdicity website interview with David Budd?
Assuming the piece is genuine, which it looks to be given the other contributions I have read on there, then yes that adds considerable weight to the argument for being bullish here.
What i found more interesting is that the #testingmethods2020 sourcing platform where it is posted, states ;
"We are seeking new and novel solutions to help increase Coronavirus testing methods, supplies and capacity across the UK."
"This platform is a partnership between the Department of Health and Social Care, the UK Bioindustry Association, British In Vitro Diagnostics Association and the Royal College of Pathologists."
So if nothing else, Genedrive are showcasing themselves to UK government and leading medical associations, not that I believe they need that sort of boost, in order to be successful.
The platform authors go on to say ;
"Every idea will be evaluated by our specialists and you will be informed why we won’t progress your idea at this point or to begin collaborating bringing your idea to life with you as partners."
Back to your figures, I had wanted to say that I am expecting a slower ramp up over the first month or two, but the linked in post that I have just seen, is causing me to re-think. It is also encouraging me to believe that the CE Mark must be close, if they are already pumping out thousands of the tests.
@Micait Excellent thank you for that.
Your prompt reminded of another quote, which essentially drive my earlier thoughts posted today ;
"The Directors believe that the Company's skill set is also relevant for developing high throughput laboratory based tests and that the Company will be able to leverage its strong development, manufacturing and commercial relationships in its SARS-CoV-2 tests."
There's those existing skill sets.
All of this strengthens the belief in their ability to deliver on this test.