Postponing Nasdaq IPO, Poxel raises €26.5M to move diabetes drug into PhIII

("Lyon" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by x-oph)

Poxel (EPA:POXEL) has hit pause on its plan to file for an IPO on Nasdaq. The Merck Serono spinout indicated its interest in a Nasdaq IPO earlier this year, but has now opted to postpone the plan in favor of using its Euronext listing to generate the €26.5 million ($29.2 million) it needs to advance its Type 2 diabetes drug into Phase III in Japan.

Lyon, France-based Poxel is set to deliver data from an Asian Phase IIb trial of its lead drug in the first half of next year. The drug, imeglimin, is designed to enhance the bioenergetics of mitochondria, a mechanism of action it thinks can preserve beta cell function. With the Phase IIb data potentially setting imeglimin on a path that leads to it coming to market in Japan in 2020, investors have stepped up with the €26.5 million Poxel needs to realize this vision.

Poxel raised some of the money from new U.S.-based institutional investors, with another tranche coming from a mix of existing backers from both sides of the Atlantic. But, while Poxel said in May that it was working to establish a listing on Nasdaq, the U.S. investors will have to wait a while to snap up shares in the drugmaker on an exchange closer to home.

“Given the tough conditions ... we've postponed [the Nasdaq IPO],” Poxel CEO Thomas Kuhn told FierceBiotech.

Poxel still aspires to file for an IPO on Nasdaq--the visibility, liquidity and fundraising potential of U.S. listings mean they exert a strong pull on European biotechs--but, with the €26.5 million adding to the €32.1 million it had in the bank at the end of June, there is little financial pressure to do so at a time when it may struggle to secure what it sees as a fair valuation.

The more pressing business development matter is partnering. Poxel has long expressed a desire to find a partner for imeglimin in the U.S. and Europe before taking the program into Phase III. Now, having wrapped up a Phase IIb in those regions and gotten into talks with regulators about the next steps, the date by which Poxel needs to have executed its partnership plan if it is to avoid delays to development is approaching fast.

“We have discussions … with the aim of having a partner on board this year so that we could start the Phase III, both in Europe and the U.S., in 2017,” Kuhn said.

Poxel is also looking to secure an Asian commercial partner. The difference between the regional strategies is that Poxel is content to handle more of the clinical trial work in Asia unpartnered. “In contrast to the U.S. and Europe, you can progress very quickly and aggressively in Asia,” Kuhn said. With the €26.5 million earmarked for taking imeglimin through Phase III in Japan, Poxel is seeking a partner that can handle commercialization should that study deliver positive data in 2019.

- read the release

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