Australian biotechnology company Benitec Ltd (ASX:BLT) is trading at three month highs with substantial volume behind the move. The ASX queried the price and volume movement but Benitec said there was no information that had not been previously announced to the market that could explain the jump.
Benitec shares soared back at the end of September when the US Patent Office’s Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences reversed their previous rejections of the “Control of Gene Expression” patent. But after that rally the ever volatile stock declined steadily until January 2011 shortly after the company announced a $160,000 dividend from its Californian licensee,Tacere Therapeutics.
Dr Peter French, Benitec’s CEO, commented that the payment indicated the “potential for significant income as Benitec’s technology moves through the commercialisation process.” It appears the market is pleased to see a top up of the company's current assets which have dwindled from $2M in 2008 down to $651K in 2010.
Benitec was established in 1997 to commercialise research from Queensland’s Department of Primary Industries. Benitec holds a substantial intellectual property portfolio in gene silencing for human therapeutics. The company is leveraging this platform to develop and build a pipeline of expressed RNAi therapeutics focusing on treatment and alleviation of cancer and infectious disease
It has a market capitalisation of $19M and its share price closed today just shy of 4c.