Mapi Pharma makes third attempt to list on Nasdaq

Mapi Pharma is nothing if not persistent. Having tried and failed twice to pull off an IPO on Nasdaq, the Israeli biopharma has arrived on Wall Street yet again in pursuit of $57.5 million (€51.2 million) to funnel into development of its once-a-month version of Teva's ($TEVA) Copaxone.

Mapi Pharma CEO Ehud Marom

The fundraising target on the F-1/A Mapi Pharma submitted this week is notably more than it tried to raise in either of its previous attempts. Ness Ziona, Israel-based Mapi Pharma spent a decent chunk of 2014 trying to come up with a pitch that would get it on to Nasdaq. After initially gunning for a $40 million IPO that would value the company at up to $230 million, Mapi Pharma slashed both figures by nearly 50%. Even so, Mapi Pharma's attempt to list on Nasdaq petered out more than one year ago.

An indication that Mapi Pharma was revving up for a third IPO attempt arrived in May, when Shavit Capital led a $10 million Series A round. With the fundraising total falling short of what Mapi Pharma needs to execute its R&D strategy and Shavit Capital being known for investing in mezzanine rounds, the news upped the likelihood of another IPO filing. At that stage, a listing on an exchange other than Nasdaq was a possibility. But despite all its travails with the stock exchange to date--and some doubts over the sustainability of the IPO window--Mapi Pharma has picked Nasdaq once again.

More than one year has passed since Mapi Pharma last rolled the dice on Wall Street but the tasks for which it needs money are still the same. The most-pressing priority is to round up cash for clinical trials of glatiramer acetate depot, Mapi Pharma's reworking of Teva's blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone. Mapi Pharma is currently running a 20-person open label study that is looking at the effect of switching from Copaxone to its treatment, which is administered once a month. The FDA has told Mapi Pharma efficacy data from the trial are unlikely to carry much weight.

Mapi Pharma needs to set up a pivotal Phase III trial to generate the data it needs to win over the FDA. When the company was trying to go public last year, the goal was to have the trial up and running in the third quarter of 2014. The plan now is to submit an IND application in the first quarter of 2016. If Mapi Pharma is to hit its timeline and avoid losing more ground in the fiercely fought race to profit from Copaxone going off patent, it needs to boost its bank balance. As of June 30, Mapi Pharma had $4.5 million in cash to its name.

- here's the F-1/A
- read Globes' take