Oryzon raises €17M ahead of planned IPO

Oryzon Genomics has topped up its bank balance through a private placement months ahead of its anticipated listing on the Madrid Stock Exchange. The €16.6 million ($18.4 million) investment gives Oryzon the cash to keep pushing ahead with its pipeline plans in the months until it goes public.

Oryzon CEO Carlos Buesa

Barcelona, Spain-based Oryzon will use some of the cash to get a Phase IIa trial of its lead program in patients with acute myeloid leukemia up and running. Capital MAB, a fund set up by the Catalan Finance Institute to help companies go public, bought a chunk of the shares available in the private placement. And Joseph Fernandez, the CEO of U.S. epigenetics player Active Motif and founder of Invitrogen, snagged himself a 1% stake in Oryzon.

Oryzon CEO Carlos Buesa, who along with fellow co-founder Tamara Maes now controls 26.3% of the company, sees the willingness of Fernandez to open his wallet as an encouraging sign. "The success of this capital raise is affirmation that investors, some of them specialized in the epigenetics field, recognize the potential value in Oryzon and our lead assets," Buesa said. "The additional resources will complement current and future milestone payments from Roche ($RHHBY)."

While Acacia Pharma and Shield Therapeutics have hit pause on their IPO plans over the past month, there is no indication that Oryzon is getting cold feet. The company used the fundraising news to pull forward the date by which it is forecast to start trading in Madrid. Management now expects to list by the end of the year. When Oryzon secured shareholder support for its IPO in September, the IPO was pencilled in for before the end of the first quarter of 2016.

The private placement, in which shares were sold for €3.39 a piece, could provide Oryzon with the debut listing price for its IPO, Reuters reports. The private placement valued Oryzon at €96.5 million.

- read the release (PDF)
- and Reuters' take