13/11/2014 - 13:49

Avita falls on UK delay

13/11/2014 - 13:49

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Avita falls on UK delay
Dalton Gooding and William Dolphin were casualties of the 2013 Avita Medical AGM.

Shares in Avita Medical have hit a 2014 low following the company’s announcement efforts to commercialise in the UK have hit a snag.

Avita, which is commercialising spray-on skin technology for burns victims, had applied to the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for effective endorsement of its product.

The institute’s role is to advise the National Healthcare System in the UK on guidance and advice for treatments.

A recommendation from NICE could help streamline commercialisation of the product, however it is not mandatory in order to achieve sales.

Today, Avita announced NICE had opted not to endorse the product at this stage because it didn’t have adequate information on the best patients for the product.

It did, however, state that the technology still showed promise.

“It’s essential to note that these recommendations for further research don’t mean that these promising technologies should not be used, as it’s important that more data can be generated to help inform further considerations on their clinical utility,” the institute said in a statement.

However the delay is reminiscent of the long battle Avita has had in attempting to commercialise in the US, which resulted in significant shareholder discontent at its annual general meeting last year.

Following today’s news of the delay in receiving NICE guidance, Avita’s shares fell 5 per cent to a 2014 low of 9.5 cents each at 1:30pm WST.

The only time shares have been lower in the last year was a period in December 2013 when the company restructured its board with the resignation of chair Dalton Gooding and former chief executive William Dolphin stepped down in light of shareholder discontent.

Then chief operating officer and chief financial officer Tim Rooney stepped into the role as interim chief executive, which he remains.

Ian Macpherson stepped into the interim chair role and was replaced by Lou Panaccio in May.

Mr Gooding joined the board of TFS Corporation last month as indepdendent non-executive director.

Avita will hold its annual general meeting for 2014 in Sydney next Friday.

The company, which is based in Subiaco, is the result of a 2008 merger of two biotechnology companies; Clinical Cell Culture which was progressing the spray on skin technology developed by Fiona Wood and Visiomed Group.

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