Ablynx files for $150M IPO to build on phase 3 boost

Ablynx has moved quickly to capitalize on the boost to its prominence and prospects provided by recent phase 3 data. The Belgian biotech has joined the reopened path from Europe to Wall Street in pursuit of $150 million (€128 million) to support its commercialization and clinical trial activities.

Caplacizumab is the centerpiece of the post-IPO spending plans. With top-line phase 3 data posted this week linking caplacizumab to a statistically significant drop in time to platelet count response, Ablynx is gearing up to commercialize the anti-von Willebrand factor single-domain antibody in the U.S. and Europe. The IPO will support this work by giving Ablynx cash to invest in sales, marketing and distribution infrastructure.

ALX-0171 is the most important drug affected by the IPO from an R&D perspective. Ablynx plans to use the funds to move the wholly owned treatment for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) through a phase 2b trial.

That 180-patient trial got underway at the start of the year and is due to wrap up in the back half of next year, potentially providing IPO investors with a shot at an early boost to the value of their holdings. Ablynx plans to seek a partner for ALX-0171 after the phase 2b data to help it test it the nebulized drug in phase 3 in infants hospitalized by RSV. The Belgian biotech is also looking to the anticipated partnership to support exploration of the use of ALX-0171 in primary healthcare.

ALX-0171 is unlikely to dictate the success of the IPO, though. Investors will be paying the most attention to caplacizumab, specifically whether the statistical success in phase 3 indicates the drug has the risk-benefit profile needed to establish itself in the acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP) treatment pathway.

This analysis centers on whether the clinical significance of the reduced time to platelet response outweighs the adverse events linked to caplacizumab, most notably bleeding. Ablynx’s graph of the percentage of patients in both arms shows many subjects on placebo improved at a similar speed to those on caplacizumab. However, in its favor, Ablynx has data linking caplacizumab to a drop in the recurrence of aTTP.  

The data proved compelling enough to drive Ablynx’s stock up more than 20% in Europe, where it has traded publicly since 2007. Ablynx is making shares available to investors on its home continent through a private placement it is performing in parallel to the Nasdaq IPO.