TiGenix dusts off plans for Nasdaq IPO

Nasdaq screens

TiGenix (EBR:TIG) has dusted off its plan to file for an IPO on Nasdaq. The stem cell therapy specialist shelved the idea in March in the face of “unfavorable market conditions,” but has now stepped back into the ring with a new set of underwriters.

Leuven, Belgium-based TiGenix first filed IPO paperwork late last year. And, like other European drug developers such as Basilea Pharmaceutica (SWX:BSLN) and Bavarian Nordic (CPH:BAVA) that arrived late to the IPO party, TiGenix found Wall Street unreceptive to its pitch.

TiGenix used its listing in Brussels to raise €23.75 million ($25.9 million) to tide it over, but never formally scrapped its plans to list on Nasdaq.

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In reviving the idea, TiGenix has put a new group of underwriters in charge. Canaccord Genuity is the only underwriter to survive the cull. Its role has changed from joint book-running manager to lead manager.

BofA Merrill Lynch and Cowen and Company have replaced Canaccord and KBC Securities as the book-running duo. TiGenix has also brought BTIG on board as co-manager and dispensed with the services of Chardan Capital Markets. Chardan and KBC join Nomura on the list of underwriters canned by TiGenix since it first filed to go public.

The rejig puts a different set of organizations in charge of liaising with investment groups to gauge interest in the IPO. As it stands, the syndicate has yet to determine the size of the IPO, but there are reasons to think TiGenix will fare better than last time around. For one, the new underwriters could better manage the marketing and sale of stock.

TiGenix has other tailwinds. In July, Takeda paid €25 million upfront and committed to up to €355 million in milestones for the ex-U.S. rights to TiGenix’s lead candidate, Cx601. An early €15 million tranche of the milestones is tied to the approval of Cx601 in Europe. TiGenix filed for approval as a treatment of complex perianal fistulas in adult patients with Crohn's disease in March. If approved, Takeda will market the drug in Europe and pay TiGenix double-digit royalties.

The political situation could favor TiGenix, too. IPO observers view the race for the White House as a handbrake on activity. With the political situation set to become clearer in the coming weeks, TiGenix could benefit from renewed interest in backing biotech IPOs.

While the situation around the IPO has changed over the past 10 months, TiGenix's motivations have stayed the same. The top priority is to transfer Cx601 manufacturing to CMO Lonza and get a Phase III trial going in the U.S. 

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