Just shy of phase 3, Alzheon calls off $81M IPO

stop sign (knerri61/Pixabay)
Tramiprosate had flopped in a previous phase 3 trial but showed signs of efficacy in a narrow population of Alzheimer's patients. (Walter Knerr)

Tiny Alzheon filed in March to raise up to $81 million in its IPO, funding that would push its once-failed beta amyloid blocker into a phase 3 pivotal trial. Now, the biotech is pulling the IPO. 

Framingham, Massachusetts-based Alzheon picked up the rights to tramiprosate from Neurochem, now known as Bellus Health, in 2013. At the time, the drug had been tossed aside after failing in 2009 to improve cognition in patients with Alzheimer's disease. 

Alzheon's rationale for rescuing the drug was based on a post hoc analysis showing that, while it flopped in the overall population, it fared better in patients who had two copies of the APOE4 gene. So the biotech tweaked the drug and took aim at the narrower population, which makes up about 10% of Alzheimer's patients. 


Share your opinion. Take our five minute survey.

How do you select the most suitable advanced dosage forms for new molecules in your development pipelines? Share your insights in this 5-minute survey. The first 50 qualified respondents will receive a $5 Amazon gift card.

RELATED: BTI files for $69M IPO to run trials in Alzheimer's and cancer 

The company reported some encouraging phase 1b data at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in 2016, with CEO Martin Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., telling FierceBiotech that the company now had the data it needed to plunge into phase 3 in the first half of 2017. Missing that mark, the biotech teed up for its IPO in March with plans to start the trial later this year, but now, with the IPO's postponement, its phase 3 ambitions are on hold. 

RELATED: Special Report—Biotech IPOs rebounded in 2017 and may keep rolling into 2018

Alzheon is the second biotech this week to pull its IPO; just a day earlier, Mereo BioPharma withdrew its $80 million Nasdaq IPO. The London-based company had been seeking cash to bankroll the phase 3 trial of its brittle bone drug and blamed the setback on “challenging stock market conditions.” But that wasn't the tale told by Morphosys, which got off an oversubscribed $208 million IPO just the week before. 

Suggested Articles

The FDA rejected the new drug application for golodirsen, the follow-up to Exondys 51, Sarepta’s first treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Levi Garraway is set to take up one of the biggest hot seats in biopharma when he becomes the next chief medical officer at Roche.

The FDA approved a new device for people suffering from advanced heart failure who are not able to receive treatment from other devices.