Trading halt: Sirtex Medical Limited shares freeze pending market update

Cancer drug developer Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX: SRX) placed its shares in trading halt at lunchtime today, pending an announcement regarding its ongoing clinical studies.

The company requested the halt in order to “to provide the Company sufficient time to review and assess the implications on the business of the soon to be released clinical data relating to the SIRFLOX/FOXFIRE/FOXFIRE Global and SIRveNIB clinical studies at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.”

The announcement is expected to be ‘material’ to the company. Shares will resume trade once the company makes an announcement, or on Friday the 19th of May.

In addition to its recent SARAH trial results, Sirtex has a number of clinical trials being completed over the next 2 years or so. The trials are, in effect, an effort to move the company’s SIR-Spheres cancer treatment higher up the treatment chain and/or seek approval for use in other cancers for which it is currently not used as a treatment.

Positive results would potentially open up significant new growth avenues for the company, which currently has a tiny market share even in its primary target market, liver cancer. If one knew for certain that these trials were going to be successful, Sirtex looks very cheap at today’s prices.

However, one does not know, and so a Sirtex investment involves some uncertainty. Shares could well plunge further if the results are negative. I presume all will be made clear when the company updates the market in the coming days.

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Motley Fool contributor Sean O'Neill owns shares of Sirtex Medical Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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