As we approach the Small Cap Awards, due to take place on 25th June, Master Investor profiles some of the companies and people shortlisted. Giulio Cerroni, CEO of IXICO, has been shortlisted for the Executive Director of the Year award.
Since his appointment as CEO in February 2017, Giulio has transformed IXICO into a high growth, profitable and well-capitalised technology company. IXICO is a medical imaging technology company providing advanced analytics to the global pharmaceutical clinical trial market. Its global clients are developing therapies for neurological conditions with significant unmet clinical need, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. The Company’s TrialTracker® platform and Artificial Intelligence algorithms enable pharma to gain better insights from the trial data they collect from MRI and PET brain images. More recently the Company has developed algorithms to interpret real-world data collected using wearable biosensors, to enable monitoring of patients in their home environment, reducing the requirement for clinical site visits.
IXICO’s proprietary algorithms for neuroimaging and digital biomarkers are powering some of the most important clinical trials in neuroscience today; the results delivered by IXICO’s platform support its clients in their clinical decisions to align patient selection, protect patient safety and assess disease progression and drug efficacy.
In his first 90 days, Giulio outlined his new, commercially-led five-point plan covering:
- Focus on scale and operational excellence
- Accelerate penetration of clinical trials market; diversity into new indications
- Target early phase to grow into later clinical phases
- Innovate AI process automation & data analytics
- Enhance organic growth through selective partnerships and M&A
Fundamentally, the business’s recent success has been driven by the consistent execution of this plan. Additionally, having identified Neurology as the second largest R&D spend for pharma behind oncology, Giulio’s clarity of conviction to direct the company’s resources exclusively on neurological diseases, has been pivotal to the company’s commercial success and driven renewed momentum in its R&D programme.
The Company’s collaborative commercial model sees it partnering with clients and academic partners early in a drug’s development cycle to identify and validate new biomarkers of interest and then deploy these at scale as the asset progresses through the development cycle. For example, IXICO’s involvement in Huntington’s research dates back to early academic studies. Establishing early scientific leadership in this rare disease has led to commercial contract wins in a number of Huntington’s studies with major pharmaceutical sponsors, most recently culminating in the £10.5m record order for a late phase study signed in April 2020.
In FY2019 the company reported its maiden year of profitability since being admitted to AIM in 2013, and the first 6 months of 2020 has built on this momentum. The recent interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2020, saw the Company reporting revenues of £4.6 million, a 33.0% growth on H1 2019 (2019: £3.4 million), while also delivering EBITDA margin of 14.8% (2019: 4.0%) and a profit per share of 1.01p (2019: 0.46p). These latest results represent a 33% three-year CAGR and the seventh consecutive reporting period of greater than 20% revenue growth.
Meanwhile, the Company has rapidly responded to the challenges of COVID-19 by scaling and extending its remote operating model to continue to support trial activities. Its record £20m orderbook, healthy pipeline of new opportunities and strong cash position, will enable the Company to continue to invest in scaling operations and driving innovation. With strong leadership and a management team focused on delivering the plan, the Company is confident that it is well-placed to build on its growth momentum over the medium and long term.