The bar for new HIV drugs may be higher, but the prospect of earning a blockbuster return for a successful new approach to treating the disease is keeping up interest in new players. And one of the biotechs in the field--Seattle-based Koronis Pharmaceuticals--is laying the groundwork for a listing in London to raise new money for clinical trials.
Why London? CEO Donald Elmer tells Reuters that Koronis is looking to raise about $15 million, a relatively small sum for the IPO market, and the Alternative Investment Market in London makes more sense for a small developer than Nasdaq. Elmer adds he may instead execute a reverse listing. Several biotechs have listed in recent months, but most were forced to slash their proposed stock prices to garner attention from investors who have shown little interest in high-risk development efforts.
Current HIV therapies work by quelling the spread of the virus among cells. But Koronis believes that by seeding up replication it can exhaust the virus' capacity for replication. Its lead therapy, KP-1461, has been backed primarily by Pacific Horizon Investors. Koronis is raising cash for fresh mid-stage development work.