Australian biotech figurehead Paul Hopper raises $20 million for his latest pre-IPO venture
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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Paul Hopper has been behind a number of successful oncology biotechs, and his latest venture is one of the few Australian companies in the radio-pharmaceuticals space.
Hopper is best known for being behind Viraltyics which was bought by Merck for over $500 million in early 2018. His other ventures include $1.6 billion company Imugene (ASX:IMU) as well as Chimeric Therapeutics (ASX:CHM)which listed in January.
But he is also behind a company called Radiopharm Theranostics which yesterday announced it had raised $20 million ($5m more than what it had been targeting) in a pre-IPO raise, as it eyes off an ASX listing later this year.
Radiopharmaceticals are a new class of drugs that deliver radiation therapy directly and specifically to cancer cells.
While using radiation therapy is not a new way to treat cancer, it is typically delivered by delivering beams of radiation outside the body – a process that can cause more damage than it repairs. But radiopharmaceutical drugs deliver therapy directly to the cells.
While the ASX is only home to one other radiopharmaceutical company, Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) right now, there is one other company seeking to list in Clarity Pharmaceuticals.
Furthermore Hopper told shareholders of his latest venture there has been increased interest and activity in the space.
Two examples were the acquisitions of Endocyte and Advanced Accelerator Applications for $2.1 billion and $3.9 billion respectively – both by Novartis.
Hopper’s venture has a portfolio of four peptides which are at varying stages ranging from pre-clinical to Phase 2 stage but all up address about 75% of the causes of death from cancer.
All up it has five Phase 1 clinical trials and three Phase II trials with 127 patients dosed across three of its four assets to date.
Without being specific, the company said the portfolio “has been secured under commercially attractive license agreements”.
Hopper recruited David Mozley, who was formerly professor of nuclear medicine at Cornell University in the US, as Chief Medical Officer as well as Thom Tulip as Chief Technical Officer.
“I am thrilled to be able to combine a range of outstanding assets with the highly credentialed management in a sector that has attracted an intense level of interest in recent years,” he said.
“The funds we’ve been able to bring in as part of this capital raising will allow us to further develop our portfolio unimpeded, while building out the executive team as we consider additional funding options moving forward.
“I’d like to thank our shareholders for their support and look forward to delivering value to our investors while ultimately commercialising radiopharmaceutical technologies that improves patient outcomes.”