ArGEN-X pulls in €16M to push cancer, autoimmune programs to clinical POC

Federated Investors has bought an 8.6% stake in arGEN-X (EBR:ARGX). The deal sees arGEN-X sell shares worth €16 million ($17.5 million) to the major U.S. asset manager, giving it additional financial firepower at a time when it is closing in on clinical proof-of-concept trials for a clutch of key drugs.

arGEN-X CEO Tim Van Hauwermeiren

Ghent, Belgium-based arGEN-X has allocated the fresh capital to the progress of the most advanced wholly owned assets in its pipeline. Each of the drugs is edging toward a significant moment in its development. ARGX-110 and ARGX-111, a pair of cancer programs, are in Phase Ib, putting arGEN-X on the cusp of entering clinical proof-of-concept. Autoimmune drug ARGX-113 is following closely behind. Initial results from a single ascending-dose study of ARGX-113 emerged earlier this month. And, with the data being free from red flags, a multiple ascending-dose study is now in the works.

This multifront clinical trial program is expected to chip away at the €46.6 million arGEN-X had in the bank as of the end of September, making the Federated Investors agreement a welcome boost for the company. "The investment of this premier U.S. institution validates arGEN-X's track record since we went public in 2014," CEO Tim Van Hauwermeiren said in a statement. "It strongly supports the company's strategy to create a rich pipeline of highly differentiated antibodies." ArGEN-X started trading on Euronext in 2014 after a €40 million IPO but, to date, has resisted the siren call of Nasdaq.

The deal with Federated Investors marks a stepping up of the link between the U.S. investment community and arGEN-X, which, to a greater extent than some other European biotechs, has relied on financiers from its home continent to fund its advance to date. As of May 13, 6 of arGEN-X's 7 largest shareholders were based in Europe. Now, while the list still skews heavily toward Europe, the presence of Federated Investors alongside long-standing backer OrbiMed Advisors means the U.S. is better represented than was once the case.

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