Australian cancer biotech spin-out pitches $60M IPO stateside

Australia's Alchemia is splitting off its cancer drug work into a new company, which has filed for an IPO designed to raise up to $60 million. Audeo Oncology shares will be listed on the Australian exchange as well as on Nasdaq, according to company officials, as the upstart cancer company elbows its way into a bigger arena with potentially brighter market prospects.

"If we're going to split them up, we might as well go the whole hog and list on Nasdaq at the same time as listing in Australia to give us access to a greater pool of capital for use in the future, and also to establish a footprint for the company in the US which is going to be the biggest market for our product," Alchemia CEO Peter Smith told The Australian.

According to its S-1 now on file at the SEC, Audeo plans to use it Hyaluronic Acid Chemotransport Technology platform, or HyACT, to improve the effectiveness and reduce the risk of known cancer drugs. Its lead drug is HA-Irinotecan, "currently in a pivotal Phase III clinical trial for metastatic colorectal cancer." The same drug is in a Phase II clinical trial for small cell lung cancer and two other HyACT product candidates have wrapped early-stage studies. "We aim to develop a pipeline of product candidates by exploiting our significant know-how in cancer stem cell biology and cancer metabolism."

The market for biotech IPOs has yet to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, which sent investors scurrying from risk. The few successful IPOs that have been floated are in the hands of some experienced biotech players with well-defined track records in the industry. Alchemia has maintained a relatively high profile in Australia but the company is largely unknown in the U.S.

- here's the S-1
- get the story from The Australian

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