AstraZeneca backs Aussie smart inhaler startup Adherium in $26M IPO

Australian smart inhaler player Adherium has raised AU$35 million ($25.8 million) in an IPO that's supported by its big pharma partner AstraZeneca ($AZN). The biopharma committed to kicking in $3 million of the IPO fundraising, which was reported 2x oversubscribed by investors.

Adherium will use the cash infusion fulfill its commercial commitments for its Smartinhaler products, as well as to conduct R&D. The company said in its IPO prospectus that it has nearly AU$26 million in customer commitments, including those from AstraZeneca.

In July, the pair disclosed a non-exclusive distribution agreement for Adherium to supply it with smart inhalers for use with any combination of budesonide and formoterol, the active ingredients in the AstraZeneca product Symbicort, as well as for clinical or validation trials as well as for online sales of up to two units. The Symbicort-related portion of the deal is for up to 10 years, while the remainder is for three years.

The deal came after competitor Propeller Health disclosed that the FDA has cleared a similar smart device for use with a GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) drug. It had said previously that its device and related tech are FDA-cleared for use with a Boehringer Ingelheim inhaler as well. Adherium acknowledges Propeller as a competitor in its IPO prospectus, along with CoheroHealth and Gecko Health Innovations.

Adherium's SmartTouch inhaler--Courtesy of Adherium

Providing biopharmas, as well as disease management and clinical trial organizations, with a wholesale supply of its smart inhalers is Adherium's fundamental strategy.

The offering had "the overwhelming investor support ranging from international institutional investors through to small retail investors," said the company's CEO Garth Sutherland in a statement. He added that the company expects to provide, "market-leading digital health solutions that have a real and meaningful impact for people with chronic disease."

In clinical outcome studies, its Smartinhaler has been shown to improve medication adherence by 59% in adults and 180% in children. For adults, this translated into a 60% reduction in severe attacks, the company said. It added that its Smartinhaler technology has been used already in 40 projects across 29 countries.

In addition to AstraZeneca, existing investor One Funds Management also committed to buying up to 2 million IPO shares; it held almost 20% of the company ahead of the IPO. The IPO offer price was $0.50 per share; Adherium will start out with a $70 million market cap.

- here is the statement
- and an article by the Austrailian Financial Review