Biophytis files for Parisian IPO to hustle AMD and obesity drugs toward POC

Biophytis has added its name to the list of biotechs to head to the Parisian stock exchange in 2015. The age-related disease biotech has filed the paperwork for an IPO on its local exchange to finance the march of its two lead candidates into Phase IIb trials.

Biophytis CEO Stanislas Veillet

Paris, France-based Biophytis is turning to public investors for cash as it nears the start of a pair of mid-phase trials that will define its future. Both Phase IIb studies are due to start later this year, but data on Biophytis' Mas receptor non-peptide agonist in people with sarcopenic obesity are due first. The drug, BIO 101, has shown the potential to increase protein synthesis and myotube diameter, characteristics that Biophytis thinks can help older people whose muscle growth fails to keep pace with their weight gain.

The combination of obesity and muscle impairment puts people with sarcopenic obesity at greater risk of disability. As it stands, exercise regimes are the main way of countering the condition. If BIO 101 can boost muscle formation and cut protein breakdown by interfering with the Ras system--a regulatory cascade linked to sarcopenia--it could become a therapeutic option for patients. Biophytis is betting such a drug and its sales potential in a world in which people are getting older and heavier will prove attractive to large biopharma companies. A 2017 licensing deal is being targeted.  

Bringing a partner on board in 2017 would set Biophytis up for a Phase III trial. Around the same time, Biophytis expects to be nearing the end of its second Phase IIb study. The trial will look at the use of BIO 201 in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Biophytis thinks BIO 201 can improve outcomes in AMD by interfering with proxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha, a class of receptors linked to protection against the condition. The idea is backed up by preclinical data that suggest intravitreal injections of BIO 201 can increase the layers of photoreceptors.

As with BIO 101, the plan is to strike a licensing deal ahead of a Phase III trial. The plan faces some stern tests over the next few years, with sarcopenic obesity being a difficult condition to even define and AMD attracting multiple drug developers. Biophytis has yet to disclose publicly how much it will try to extract from investors to test its ideas, but it has a track record of operating on a slim budget. Seventure Partners helped the biotech get going with an €800,000 ($900,000) investment in 2008, since when it has added a clutch of small financings, the largest of which totalled €2.2 million.

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