‘Shark antibody’ biotech AdAlta seeks $7.5M IPO for fibrosis candidate

Lab work

Early-stage Australian biotech AdAlta, which is targeting the lung-scarring disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), is seeking to raise AU$10 million ($7.5 million) in an IPO to help fund its first set of trials.  

The public offering, announced through the Australian Securities Exchange, if successful will help fund the future for its compound AD-114, which the biotech says has shown promise in treating fibrosis in preclinical tests, and is now set to be taken into the clinic.

AdAlta, which was established nearly a decade ago, uses a tech platform that produces proteins which mimic the shape of shark antibodies and engineers their key stability features to create new compounds, known as ‘i-bodies’.

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The University of Aberdeen and a number of spin-outs have for the past few years been undertaking similar preclinical work in this area, including the research into soloMERs, which are found in the blood of sharks.

These antibody-like structures have the smallest binding sites so far identified in the animal kingdom. They can be selected in the lab and their small size allows them to reach parts of the body larger antibodies cannot.

The Austrailian biotech hopes its platform will eventually produce a pipeline of new meds, but is currently focused on treating fibrosis diseases with its lead candidate.

AD-114 is targeting IPF, a condition that causes scarring of the lungs and causes breathing to become increasingly difficult for patients, and will eventually lead to death. It mainly affects older patients over 50.

There have been new treatments approved in recent years for the condition in the form of Roche’s ($RHHBY) Esbriet and private Boehringer’s Ofev (nintedanib), which can both help ease symptoms, but not reverse the disease.

AdAlta said its strategy is not to go it alone but to partner its i-body platform to help produce early revenues while also to licensing its i-body drugs at an early stage of development.  

The biotech said that it “has no plan” to commercialize new drugs arising from the its own tech and “make investors wait up to a decade or more before they see any returns.” Its plan is instead to get a Big Pharma partner in early with what it hopes will be some encouraging Phase I data.

CEO Sam Cobb explained: “Proceeds from the offer will be deployed to expedite our first candidate into Phase I human clinical trials and extend the technology into other diseases. Our strategy is to license this drug candidate on completion of the planned Phase I clinical studies proposed in the offer.

“The IPO funding will allow AdAlta to develop AD-114 to a point that will be ready for licensing to a major pharmaceutical company.

“In addition, AdAlta intends to license or partner the i-body technology platform for drug discovery with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, with the objective of earning up front, milestone payments and licensing revenues.”

- check out the release

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