Alzheon shies away from $81m IPO

pharmafile | April 30, 2018 | News story | Sales and Marketing Alzheon, biotech, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical 

Alzheon, a tiny biotech based in the Boston area, had initially launched its roadshow for an IPO potentially worth up to $81 million at the beginning of April, only for it to announce that it would be postponing the offer.

The biotech had been hoping to use the money raised to take its sole candidate, ALZ-801, into Phase 3 testing for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. However, it appears to have reconsidered the idea after a spate of failures in the area.

Perhaps the most notable, and comparable, is the failure of Axovant to succeed in trials, with investors watching the share price of that company collapse down to a value of just $1.11.

Alzheon had been following a similar strategy to Axovant, after it picked up a drug known as tramiprosate from Neurotech (now known as Bellus Health). Bellus dropped the drug after a Phase 3 study were found to be inconclusive and insufficient for a regulatory filing, after nearly a decade spent on development.

Alzheon claimed that that a post-hoc study revealed that a specific subset of patients had actually shown benefits when receiving the treatment. The patients all possessed two copies of APOE4 gene and the biotech postulated that by narrowing the patient population specifically to this group it can achieve success where no other company has succeeded so far.

However, clearly investors were not feeling as confident as the biotech and Alzheon was forced to back away from the IPO – with this decision, progressing into Phase 3 development any time soon looks unlikely.

Previous financials suggested it has only $6.4 million left in the bank and, having made a net loss of $5.5 million in 2017, time may be running out for the biotech to realise this ambition before it burns through the rest of its cash.

Ben Hargreaves

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