• Recent cap raising suggests biotechs may finally be making a comeback
  • Mesblast annnounced a US$45m cap raise last week
  • Today, Paradigm, Opthea, and Proteomics also announced fund raises

Over the past year, the biotech sector has been caught up in a historic sell-off, sending most of the sector’s stocks down by more than 50% on average.

But the beaten down sector could finally be on the path back to recovery, judging by the number of fund raisings seen in the market recently.

Last week, sector leader Mesoblast (AS:MSB) announced the completion of a US$45 million cap raise via private placement.

The company wants to use the money to launch and commercialise its lead product, remestemcel-L, for which it currently seeks US FDA approval for treating children with steroid-refractory acute graft versus host disease (SR-aGVHD).

And today, other biotech companies on the ASX have announced that they too are looking to tap the market for fresh funds.


Opthea wants to raise US$170m, secures US$90m today

Eye diseases specialist, Opthea (ASX:OPT), has entered into a non-dilutive financing arrangement for up to US$170 million with Carlyle and Abingworth.

The funds will be used to advance its Phase 3 clinical trials of OPT-302 for the treatment of wet AMD, and to fund pre-commercialisation activities.

The deal was done in collaboration with its recently formed development company Launch Therapeutics, of which US$50 million will be paid shortly after Opthea receives the proceeds from the first tranche of the Placement, with the remainder being funded in two additional future tranches.

As part of this raising, it has today received binding commitments for a successful two-tranche placement worth US$90m at $1.15 a share.

Dr Megan Baldwin, CEO of Opthea said: “This well supported placement has seen a high level of demand from existing and new institutional investors, including large global and US-based funds.”

Paradigm raises $66m

Paradigm Biopharma (ASX:PAR) announced today that it wants to raise $66m to progress its Phase 3 clinical program and new drug application (NDA) related activities.

The $66m includes a $45.7m institutional placement, and a 1 for 15 pro-rata non renounceable entitlement offer of $20.3 million at $1.30 per share.

The late-stage drug development company has recently activated the first UK site for the Phase 3 study assessing the effect of its lead drug Zilosul on osteoarthritis.


Proteomics set to raise $8 million

Proteomics (ASX:PIQ) has received firm commitments for a share placement to raise $8 million at 85c a share.

The funds will be used to build an inventory for the PromarkerD predictive test for diabetic kidney disease, and to implement the strategy for its US sales.

Proteomics CEO, Dr Richard Lipscombe, said Proteomics has reached a major inflexion point in its corporate development, with the route to commercialisation of the PromarkerD test in the US now clear.

“This substantial capital injection ensures our currently planned activities in these areas are fully funded,” he said.


Telix gets investment from Chinese partner

Meanwhile, Telix Pharma (ASX:TLX) has received an investment from its partner, Hong Kong listed Grand Pharmaceutical (formerly known as China Grand Pharma).

Short on details, Grand Pharma released a statement today regarding this investment to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

In response, Dr Christian Behrenbruch, CEO of Telix said:

“Our working relationship with China Grand Pharma is stronger than ever.

“We are making solid progress towards initiating clinical trials in China for our imaging and therapeutic product candidates.

“We look forward to continuing this productive relationship for the mutual benefit of our companies, our shareholders and ultimately the patients who stand to benefit from the development work being undertaken within this partnership.”


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