NIA's #1 Coronavirus stock suggestion is: Kane Biotech (TSXV: KNE) or KNBIF in the U.S. We just discovered KNE for the very first time last night and own no position in the company.
KNE is creating smarter ways to fight bacteria. KNE is engaged in the development and commercialization of products that prevent and remove microbial biofilms. Biofilms are estimated to be responsible for 80% of all human infections and cost industry, cities and hospitals in excess of $500 billion each year.
Biofilms are formed when bacteria and/or fungi adhere to surfaces and excrete a glue-like substance that acts as an anchor and provides protection from the environment. Biofilm formation can make bacteria up to 1000 times more resistant to antibiotics, antimicrobial agents, disinfectants and the host immune system and are acknowledged to be one of the main contributors to the “antibiotic resistance crisis”.
Biofilms can form on both living and non-living surfaces including teeth (plaque and tartar), skin (wounds and diseases like seborrheic dermatitis), medical devices (catheters and endoscopes), kitchen sinks and counter tops, food and food processing equipment, hospital surfaces, pipes and filters in water treatment plants and oil, gas and petrochemical process control facilities. Biofilm related infections are difficult to treat and they commonly manifest themselves as chronic or recurrent in nature.
Biofilms directly cause infection in periodontal disease, chronic wounds, chronic ear infections, pneumonia in cystic fibrosis patients, endocarditis, implant and catheter associated infections, and are also associated with inflammatory skin infections such as seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis.
HAIs (Hospital-Acquired Infections) are infections acquired from hospitals as well as any other health care facilities (such as nursing homes and health clinics). The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has attributed HAIs as the fourth leading cause of death, after heart disease, cancer and stroke. In the United States, about two million HAIs occur every year resulting in 99,000 deaths and an estimated range of $28 billion to $45 billion in annual healthcare costs.
So far, a large percentage of people stricken with the Coronavirus in China, caught the Coronavirus at a hospital either as a doctor who was treating Coronavirus patients or a patient who went to a Wuhan hospital for some other reason.
According to a Wall Street Journal article published last week by Betsy McCaughey, U.S. hospitals don't practice proper infection control practices and are ill-equipped to handle the new coronavirus or a future global contagion. Public safety depends on the steps hospitals take to prevent infections, Ms. McCaughey wrote. Previously, infection control standards at Canadian hospitals failed to contain the SARS outbreak, Ms. McCaughey claimed. In 2003, 77% of people infected with SARS in Ontario contracted it at a hospital and another 17% got it at home, often from a healthcare worker who lived with them.
KNE's DispersinB® is a naturally occurring enzyme that cleaves the bacterial surface poly-b-1, 6-N-acetylglucosamine (PNAG) polysaccharide. This polysaccharide is produced by a wide range of bacteria and fungi and is a key component in biofilm formation.
KNE has an exclusive worldwide license agreement with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, NJ, USA (now part of Rutgers University) to commercialize the DispersinB® technology for human, animal, agricultural and industrial applications. The US patent on this technology has already been issued (U.S. Pat. No.7,294,497) and KNE holds 7 other patents in this area. KNE has a number of DispersinB® products in development including formulations with antibiotics and the antibiofilm enzyme β-N-Acetylglucosaminidase.
KNE closed yesterday at only $0.165 per share and has 101.53 million shares outstanding for a market cap of CAD$16.75 million or USD$12.7 million. KNE just raised CAD$2.5 million last month in a private placement at $0.14 per share. We estimate its enterprise value is currently CAD$14.5 million or USD$11 million.
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