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Kozak on StageZero: Come for COVID, stay for the cancer testing

15 years of work”, is how StageZero Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX: SZLS) Chairman and CEO James Howard-Tripp described why he thinks there is increased recent market interest in the company. The statement reflects the fact that the company is no overnight success and the leadership and technical team have a long history of clinical research and business success in the past 20 years.

StageZero is in the final throes of closing a best efforts financing (units qualified through a short-form prospectus) for a minimum of $5M (maximum of $10M plus overallotment option). The company plans to use the net proceeds from the financing to expanding capacity to offer and conduct COVID-19 testing and development of its existing product lines. The Company intends to expand testing capability and scale up the company to compete on a larger scale with emerging competitors in the liquid biopsy, pan-cancer early detection market.

StageZero is primarily a cancer diagnostic company, which requires absolute precision. The talk around inexpensive, rapid, accurate testing is not just science fiction or the dream of some super-smart lab scientists. Working with messenger RNA (which contains a copy of the genetic data contained on a strand of DNA), StageZero has developed a test for multiple cancers. It is based on changes in messenger RNA expression which can be measured in the blood and serve as specific early cancer indicators for cancer and other diseases. Gene expression signatures are discrete and specific to each disease state, allowing a blood test to target 10 discrete cancers.

This system is known as Artistotle and it has been validated on 2,852 subjects with nine discrete cancers detectable for women, six for men. Only one drop of blood is required with high sensitivity and specificity and it can discriminate each cancer. The company expects to launch Aristotle commercially by the end of Q1-2021. Investors should not underestimate the importance of this product line.

The obvious extension to the company’s expertise and capacity in diagnostics and testing is the current coronavirus global pandemic. As announced on November 13, 2020, the company has been announced as a COVID-19 testing partner for Barbados and will provide rapid testing services for travellers from the US and Canada.

This is the new way of the world and (correctly) if you want to travel, you will have to be tested first to avoid the unintentional transmission of the coronavirus. StageZero’s concierge testing service includes national networks of mobile healthcare professionals in the U.S. and in Canada who can visit travelers’ homes to draw the sample and provide results within 24-48 hours of taking the sample. Results are sent to travelers by encrypted email and include a PDF that they can upload to the Barbados Government website and have on hand either in paper or on their mobile device to show at the airport.

The tests will be conducted in the company’s 100% owned, CLIA-certified “high complexity” laboratory located in Richmond, Virginia. The laboratory has all necessary licenses required to offer laboratory testing services to patients in all 50 states in the US. With a current capacity of 1,000 tests per day, the lab can be ramped up to 3,000 tests per day with proceeds from the latest financing. The tests are priced at US$75-US$150, creating a significant near-term cash flow stream (six to nine months or longer).

Come for COVID, stay for the cancer testing. The company has developed a proprietary telehealth platform that should prove to be very useful in the near-term. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global telehealth market was valued at $50 billion in 2018 and is predicted to reach $267 billion by 2026. Waiting times to see a primary care provider are considered a significant factor in Americans delaying needed care – telehealth can provide a partial solution.

With a management team that have been in this scientific space for a couple decades, best-in-class testing systems for early cancer detection, a significant telehealth platform and the near-term testing (and revenue) potential due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, StageZero has the potential to be a valuable participant in the growing health care and detection areas. Watch this space!




StageZero Saliva PCR Test, a potential game changer for replacing the nasal probe

Nobody likes a COVID-19 nasal swab test that pushes a probe way up into your nose nearly reaching your brain. StageZero Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX: SZLS) (‘StageZero’) has released a COVID-19 saliva PCR test in the USA which is so much more easier and more comfortable to do. It can even be mailed to you and done at your home.

In news just released yesterday, StageZero released their new COVID-19 Saliva PCR test in the USA and Canada. Since May 2020, StageZero has been offering nasopharyngeal swab-based PCR tests and serology tests for COVID-19. The good news is that StageZero has now added a saliva test and will shortly introduce an antigen test and a full viral respiratory panel to its test offering. The test is FDA approved under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) clearance. All the patient has to do is simply fill a tube with their own saliva, label it, and send it to the StageZero lab for testing.

COVID-19 PCR test – Uncomfortable nasal swab versus simple saliva testing

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Chairman and CEO of StageZero, James Howard-Tripp, says: “Every COVID testing lab, and Government, is striving to make testing more accessible and easier to do. Saliva as a specimen, done correctly, is scientifically as accurate as swabs but easier to collect and allows us to reach patients at home.”

Back in May when StageZero first introduced the nasal swab tests I wrote about the massive worldwide demand for COVID-19 testing. I quoted a report by Harvard University stating that the US needs to be able to test 5 million people per day to safely begin to reopen their economy by June 2020. That was when there were only 30,000 new cases per day in the USA.

Fast forward to today and there are now about 45,000 new COVID-19 cases per day in the US, and about 1 million new COVID-19 tests performed every day. But really the need for testing remains much higher.

US daily COVID-19 tests tracker by John Hopkins – About 1 million tests per day

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StageZero will continue to offer a selection of COVID-19 testing summarized as:

  • Salvia PCR tests to detect the SARS-CoV-2 RNA and then sent to the StageZero Virginia lab for results processing. Ideal for very early stage detection.
  • Antigen testing for immediate results. This works by testing if a patient has developed antibodies to COVID-19. It is best for the rapid screening of symptomatic patients.
  • A Respiratory Panel PCR-based test for 18 viruses and two respiratory bacteria. It will screen for Influenza A, Influenza B, RSV and SARS-CoV-2 infection.

StageZero now offers a complete range of COVID-19 tests at a time when demand for testing is enormous. My view is that patient’s will be much more willing to undergo a saliva test than the previous nasal swab testing, as well as the possibility of completing a test from home. It is also much more suitable for people in remote areas.

Looking ahead in the very near term, StageZero will commence an offering with their revolutionary Aristotle® screening test for 10 cancers from a single sample of blood. You can read more about that here.

Following the recent share consolidation StageZero will now “prepare for a possible future listing on NASDAQ or other senior US stock exchange“.  Both of these events should be strong catalysts to help the stock price potentially move higher.

StageZero Life Sciences trades with a market cap of just C$41 million. Analyst’s consensus price target is C$4.00, so there is still plenty of potential upside ahead given the current stock price of C$0.84.

Disclaimer: Matt Bohlsen is a shareholder of StageZero Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX: SZLS)




Early cancer detection in the spotlight in the wake of actor Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death

New technology offers hope for early detection and survivability

The recent passing of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman at only age 43 from colon cancer has shone the spotlight again on this deadly disease. Many are asking why we cannot detect and cure cancer. Surely if we find it early it can be cured? Cancer is a terrible disease that now kills one in six people globally. In 2017 cancer killed 9.6 million people. The statistic alone is staggering but the sad part is, with early detection many cancers could be treated and cured. The problem is a lack of awareness that results in a lack of early testing.

One company is hoping to change that with their next generation “10 in 1” early stage cancer blood test called Aristotle®.

That company is StageZero Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX: SZLS). StageZero is best known for their early stage cancer testing. In particular their Aristotle® “10 in 1” blood test to detect any of 10 early stage cancers. Using their diagnostic expertise, in 2020 StageZero also successfully began doing COVID-19 testing.

StageZero Life Sciences is able to screen for cancer and test for COVID-19

StageZero Life Sciences is able to screen for cancer and test for COVID-19

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Aristotle® 10 in 1 cancer screening

Aristotle® is a panel for simultaneously screening for 10 different cancers from a single sample of blood. Aristotle® has been built on StageZero’s proprietary mRNA technology platform, which was validated in more than 10,000 patients for the development of the first liquid biopsy for colorectal cancer (ColonSentry®).

Aristotle® is the result of 15 years of development and StageZero believes its test is more accurate and better than standard cancer screening tests. It also has the advantage of screening for ten cancers in one test, compared to competitors’ single test/single cancer detection. It is little wonder that StageZero chose the name ‘Aristotle’ after the Greek philosopher, as it means ‘best‘ in Greek.

StageZero expects to begin commercializing their Aristiotle® test by the end of this year. Examples of the cancers covered by the Aristotle test include colo-rectal (bowel), bladder, prostate, liver, nasopharyngeal, stomach, breast, ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers.

StageZero Life Sciences Aristotle® has very high accuracy testing for 10 cancers in 1 blood test

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Given that Aristotle® is still relatively new, one of the challenges is increasing awareness both among the medical community but also among potential patients to inform them that there is now a new and very effective way to do an early screening for not one, not two, but TEN cancer tests in one simple blood test.

Step by step, the word is beginning to get out about StageZero’s revolutionary 10 in 1 cancer screening test. For example, an abstract entitled “Aristotle: A Single Blood Test for Pan Cancer Screening” was selected for online publication at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (“ASCO”).

StageZero has a growing network of partners including those on the telehealth platform such as with 10,000 mobile phlebotomists, physician groups, and small and large businesses such as Mercer. Ironically, COVID-19 has helped accelerate the number of new partners and awareness for StageZero’s products.

Applying the technology to COVID-19 testing

In April 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, StageZero announced that they will offer both the PCR-based nucleic acid tests as well as qualitative antibody testing for COVID-19. Since that time StageZero has initiated COVID-19 testing with both PCR and antibodies, with initial interest received by the company represented by approximately US$18m+ in revenue. Other StageZero achievements include:

  • Beckman Coulter received the EUA from the FDA for its SARS-CoV-2 IgG Antibody Test.
  • Partnered with 5 initial groups.
  • City of Alpharetta offered StageZero COVID-19 testing to its first responders.
  • Partnership with UDo Test connected the Company to a network of 50,000 physicians.
  • Mercer VIP Program included StageZero COVID-19 testing and connected the company to numerous employers who have ordered tests. StageZero is now a preferred lab for Mercer.

StageZero has been busy raising capital to support the above recent activities and expansion. In late June StageZero successfully raised C$4.6m from an equity placement. The funds will be used for hiring staff, purchasing equipment, test reagents, and consumable materials (for COVID-19 Tests and Aristotle®).

Closing remarks

There is little doubt that early screening for cancer can save lives. Even better is if a patient can be tested for 10 cancers all in 1 simple blood test. It makes routine screening ten times more worthwhile and it may just help to save your life, your relative’s life, or a celebrity’s life.

StageZero is steadily gaining awareness and distribution of their COVID-19 and soon Aristotle® cancer screening test with plans to commercialize Aristotle® by end 2020. The fact that they are also currently providing COVID-19 screening is both boosting revenues and awareness about StageZero. StageZero has potential for revenues to surge in 2020 and beyond as their testing and screening tests potentially become more widely used. The company is cashed up after a June C$4.6m capital raise.

The current market cap of StageZero is just C$35m. Analyst price target is C$0.50, which is well above the current stock price of C$0.09. StageZero Life Sciences is a very exciting company at a very exciting time in their development. They have huge potential to help society and at the same time be a big winner for early investors. Don’t miss this one.

Further learning




James Howard-Tripp on applying StageZero’s cancer diagnostics expertise to COVID-19 testing

InvestorIntel’s Tracy Weslosky talks with James Howard-Tripp, Chairman and CEO of StageZero Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX: SZLS), about StageZero’s early detection of cancer diagnostics and its new testing technology for COVID-19. Tracy observed, “You have one of the highest volume stock. You recently had a buy recommendation from Clarus Securities. What do you attribute all this recent attention to?” she asked.

“Fifteen years of work,” James replied.

“We are a cancer diagnostic company. So, when you deal with cancer everything needs to be absolutely precise,” James added. “When you move into another line, which is testing for COVID-19, you have to bring the exact same rigor to it. Everything that we do is to ensure that it is as precise as possible.” StageZero’s Aristotle testing platform can identify ten different types of cancer from a single blood test. “We believe that it will be in the market by year end. We are now completing the last of the validation,” James said.

To watch the complete interview, click here

Disclaimer: StageZero Life Sciences Ltd. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.




Early identification of colon cancer blood test places healthcare in patients hands

In the news release announced this morning about one of the first blood tests to aid in the early identification of colorectal cancer, Chairman and CEO James Howard-Tripp of StageZero Life Sciences, Ltd. (TSX: SZLS) starts with “…patients want to control where their dollars go and they want to control how they get healthcare.”

In an interview with InvestorIntel’s Tracy Weslosky, James adds that “This is a way for them to get the tests done particularly for early cancer detection. We have been pushing into this quite strongly and we are starting to lift off. Last month we have had over a million impressions. That’s people to whom our ads have gone and who have looked at the ads. When that starts to translate there are those who would come and download information and give you more information. They also give you permission to engage with them all the way to those who would buy the test online…”

James went on to provide an update on StageZero’s entry into the European Market with Oncore Pharma as a licensing partner. Oncore Pharma, has signed a multi-year agreement with BodyCheck NL for the distribution and sale of StageZero’s  ColonSentry® throughout the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. The multi-year agreement is valued at US$40 million. James also said that StageZero is working with the firefighter population to improve early cancer detection and has become a go-to company for them. He said, “We can find ten cancers from a single sample of blood and we are way ahead of anyone else in terms of the science.”

To access the complete interview, click here

Disclaimer: StageZero Life Sciences, Ltd. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.




StageZero’s James Howard-Tripp on diagnosing cancer early

“We are all about finding diseases early. Our current focus is on cancer. If you can find it early your survival is greatest, your costs are lower. That’s what it is all about.” States James Howard-Tripp, Chairman and CEO of StageZero Life Sciences, Ltd. (TSX: SZLS), in an interview with InvestorIntel’s Tracy Weslosky.

James went on to provide an update on StageZero’s collaboration with Coastal Medical (to increase outreach to physician practices and hospital systems throughout the Southeast). James said that they have fully trained the Salesforce and the Coastal Medical team is in the field. James also provided an update on StageZero’s recent private placement. He said that the private placement was fully subscribed and the company has raised $3.7 million. He further added that StageZero is expected to breakeven before year-end. The company is starting to ramp up and is expecting good growth in sales and revenue.

To access the complete interview, click here

Disclaimer: StageZero Life Sciences, Ltd. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.