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INOVIQ’s breast cancer test outperforms leading approved test

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INOVIQ Limited (ASX:IIQ) CEO Dr Leearne Hinch discusses recent news, including excellent sensitivity and specificity results for the company's SubB2M breast cancer test.

Paul Sanger: Today we're speaking with Dr Leearne Hinch, who is the CEO of INOVIQ (ASX:IIQ). INOVIQ is a developer of next-generation exosome solutions and precision diagnostics. It has an ASX code of "IIQ" and a market cap of around $75m. Leearne, welcome back to the network.

Dr Leearne Hinch: Thank you, Paul. Pleasure to join.

Paul Sanger: Leearne, you've had a busy few weeks, and you've made a couple of important announcements to the market. Firstly, congratulations on the impressive results from your SubB2M breast cancer case study. This is a real milestone for the company. The accuracy, sensitivity and precision of the test would suggest you have a real game changer on your hands. I have a few questions for you. Let's start up. First up, can you take us through the highlights of the results, and could you give us some context for how your test compares with other breast cancer tests?

Dr Leearne Hinch: Last week, we reported excellent clinical results from our SubB2M/CA15-3 test for breast cancer. Essentially, we showed that our test performed with 81 per cent sensitivity, which is the ability to detect breast cancer, and 93 per cent specificity, meaning we got less than 7 per cent false positives, which is an outstanding result. You asked how that compared to competitor tests out there. Essentially, in this study, we actually had a comparator. That comparator was a leading CA15-3 test that is actually approved for breast cancer monitoring, available on the market worldwide, and we showed that we outperformed that test across all stages of breast cancer.

Paul Sanger: Another question here — will the SubB2M test ultimately be a standalone test, or will it be used in conjunction with other tumour marker tests?

Dr Leearne Hinch: So, the way the CA15-3 monitoring test is currently used is it's used as an adjunct to imaging. So, it's used for both monitoring treatment response, and looking to see if the tumour marker, CA15-3, comes down. And it's also used for detection of recurrence in women that have been previously diagnosed with breast cancer to see if the cancer's come back. So, it will be used as an adjunct to imaging tests.

Paul Sanger: And the test is currently targeted at breast cancer, but can it be adapted to other forms of cancer?

Dr Leearne Hinch: So, our SubB2M technology is essentially a platform technology. So, it uses an engineered protein to detect a pan-cancer biomarker called Neu5Gc. This is a sugar found on a range of different cancers, including lung cancer, breast, ovarian, prostate and many others. So, we expect to develop a pipeline of tests using SubB2M to provide better tests to the market.

Paul Sanger: And, a question here, have you had approaches from potential partners? If so, how are those discussions progressing?

Dr Leearne Hinch: You can imagine, Paul, that they're confidential, but, certainly, the company is discussing our very exciting data with potential partners. They include clinical diagnostic companies, the likes of Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL), Quest, and LabCorp, as well as large diagnostic companies. We expect to provide both the current data, but also the results from our monitoring study that we are planning to commence soon. That study is expected to complete by the end of this year, providing us with an even broader data package to provide to those potential partners.

Paul Sanger: Moving on to other news, you've just announced a marketing agreement with the Promega Corporation. Who is Promega, and how will INOVIQ and Promega work together under this new agreement?

Dr Leearne Hinch: So, Promega is a global leader in innovative technologies, tools and technical support to the global life sciences industry. Today, INOVIQ and Promega announced that we have signed a joint marketing agreement to co-market INOVIQ's EXO-NET exosome capture technology and Promega's nucleic acid purification systems.

Paul Sanger: And what sort of impact are you expecting this deal to have for INOVIQ?

Dr Leearne Hinch: Well, it's important for both companies because it enables us to deliver exosome solutions to global customers to enable their exosome isolation, biomarker discovery and diagnostics development needs. For INOVIQ specifically, it provides global reach for our EXO-NET exosome capture technology to customers worldwide, which clearly we are very excited about.

Paul Sanger: And can you talk more about contemplated expansions to this deal?

Dr Leearne Hinch: Yeah, sure. So, what's important for both companies is that we provide world-class exosome solutions that really provide complete solutions to customers. So, we expect to expand the range of products and services provided to customers, including across exosome isolation, characterisation and analysis kits, and also automation solutions on instruments.

Paul Sanger: And finally, Leearne, are there any milestones that investors can watch out for in the near future?

Dr Leearne Hinch: I think we've got a very exciting second half of this calendar year. We have results expected on our exosome-based ovarian cancer program that's in development with the University of Queensland. We also expect to report on further progress for both our SubB2M breast and ovarian cancer tests, as well as further collaborations for our EXO-NET technology to develop new diagnostics across a number of different areas.

Paul Sanger: Dr Leearne Hinch, congratulations on the announcement again, and we look forward to catching up with you later in the year.

Dr Leearne Hinch: Thank you, Paul.

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