Intec Pharma stumbles to $30M IPO as Parkinson's program fails to excite investors

Intec Pharma ($NTEC) has raised $30 million (€28 million) in an IPO on Nasdaq. The haul is down on the most recent target--and represents a discount on its share price in Tel Aviv--but still gives Intec some money to throw at a Phase III trial of its Parkinson's disease candidate.

When Israel-based Intec set terms last month, it was aiming to raise around $38 million by selling 4.5 million shares at a little more than $8 a pop. However, Intec's stock price on the Tel Aviv exchange has traded down more than 10% since then and in the end the company could only persuade investors on Wall Street to pay out $6 a share. The gradual slide fits into the long-term trend at Intec--which has seen its share price in Israel drop by more than one-third over the past two years--but could come to look like an anomaly if the company can impress in Phase III.

Intec had planned to allocate $30 million of its IPO winnings to a Phase III trial of a formulation of the Parkinson's disease drugs carbidopa and levodopa that uses its Accordion Pill technology. With the outlay on IPO fees meaning Intec's net haul is below $30 million--at least unless the over-allotment is sold--the company will have slightly less than expected to commit to the IPO. The company warned last month that if its net proceeds amounted to less than $35 million, it may have to raise additional cash to wrap up the IPO. Intec expects to accrue $10 million in general expenses during the trial.

Even so, Intec is now close to fulfilling its long-held ambition of seeing its Accordion Pill technology put to the test in a late-phase trial. Intec has worked on the technology--an oral dosage form that is designed to improve solubility and colonic absorption--since it set up shop in 2000, but has struggled to find a business model. Early plans to rely on partnerships were scrapped, leading Intec to initiate its own R&D program to develop a candidate that could validate the effectiveness of its technology. The Phase III trial could, finally, bring that validation or consign the technology to history.

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