UniQure ($QURE) has moved quickly to cash in on its position in the biotech limelight. Within 24 hours of unveiling its $1 billion tie-up with Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMS), the gene therapy specialist had filed the paperwork for a follow-on offering that could net it upwards of $100 million (€92 million).
Amsterdam, the Netherlands-based uniQure will rake in $108 million if the shares sell at the assumed offering price and the over-allotment is fully subscribed. The calculation is based on the buoyant price at which shares in uniQure were trading in the wake of its deal with Bristol--which triggered a 47% jump in the value of the Dutch biotech's stock--and will leave the company with around $150 million in cash to mount its play for the hemophilia B market and other niches of the gene therapy sector. The likelihood of achieving this target took a hit in the days after the unveiling of the offering when news of a possible regulatory setback sent uniQure's shares down as much as 10%.
The money is earmarked for use in a long list tasks, the most pressing of which is the development of the Phase I/II hemophilia B gene therapy uniQure is developing with Chiesi, AMT-060. UniQure is going head to head with a handful of other companies--including Baxter ($BAX) and Biogen ($BIIB)--in the race to bring a gene therapy treatment for the blood clotting disease to market. After the follow-on offering, uniQure should be in a position to ensure it never falls behind its competitors because it lacks of cash to speed through clinical trials.
UniQure is setting aside another tranche of its anticipated windfall for further clinical development and a U.S. marketing approval application covering Glybera, its lipoprotein lipase deficiency drug that carries a €1 million pricetag. The Dutch biotech is also hoping to acquire rights to certain products currently being developed by third parties, advance its early-stage pipeline of hemophilia A and CNS drugs and build out its R&D infrastructure to support the alliance with Bristol.