Biolidics calls for trading halt pending revised statement on reimbursement for cancer tests in China

SINGAPORE - Catalist-listed medical technology firm Biolidics on Tuesday morning (July 2) requested an immediate trading halt, pending a revised press statement with clarifications on the reimbursement for cancer laboratory-developed tests (LDTs) in China.

Earlier on Monday, Biolidics had announced that fees of the LDTs offered by its Chinese laboratory partner, Hunan Agen Medicine Laboratory Technology (Hunan Agen Lab), will be reimbursed by China's National Healthcare Security Administration under its national basic medical insurance programme.

But the company said on Tuesday that the reimbursement is actually for the cancer drug treatments, not the tests, and that such reimbursement has not been confirmed. The company's board requested this clarification.

Hunan Agen Lab will provide the LDTs to Hunan Cancer Hospital, which has obtained approval to start clinical trials for a protein - programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) - in the administration of cancer drug treatments, Biolidics said on Tuesday. The PD-L1 protein helps prevent immune cells from attacking non-harmful cells in the body.

If these clinical trials are successful, the targeted cancer drug treatments may then be potentially reimbursed by the National Healthcare Security Administration under the insurance programme, Biolidics noted.

Each LDT, as part of the clinical trials, will require one Biolidics CTChip FT1 biochip to perform the test, using Biolidics' ClearCell FX1 System.

ClearCell is a fully automated medical device that uses patented technology to separate and enrich cancer cells from blood. It allows users to perform liquid biopsies to test for the presence of cancer cells.

Biolidics said on Monday that it has received orders of the biochips from Hunan Agen Lab for the tests.

The clinical trials will improve patient selection for the cancer drug treatment, Biolidics said in the Tuesday filing.

They also aim to show the efficacy of the combination treatment and changes in circulating tumour cells after the drug treatment is administered, and to evaluate the correlation between PD-L1 expressions derived from circulating tumour cells and tumour tissue cells.

Singapore-based Biolidics focuses on cancer diagnostic solutions. It develops cell enrichment systems which, when combined with other analytical tests, have a wide range of applications for cancer diagnosis, prognosis, treatment selection and treatment monitoring.

Its shares last traded on Monday at 29.5 cents.