Biopharmaceutical startup Invex Pharmaceuticals (ASX:IXC) is all set to join the ASX tomorrow with a diabetes drug they want to use to treat brain conditions.

Invex is repurposing Exenatide, a registered diabetes drug, to treat neurological conditions with an early focus on intracranial hypertension (IIH).

The company issued stock during the IPO at 40c, raising at least $10m from 25m shares.

Invex starts trading at midday on Friday.

10 years in the making

Invex was founded as a way to commercialise research carried out at the University of Birmingham by Dr Alexandra Sinclair, the company’s chief scientific officer.

In its prospectus, the company said its commercial opportunities are based off more than 10 years of research by Dr Sinclair and her team.

Their focus is on the use of Exenatide to treat neurological conditions caused by or involving intracranial pressure (ICP), the buildup of pressure inside the skull which also affects brain tissue and cerebrospinal fluid.

Common causes of excessive ICP included externally administered brain trauma, stroke, and the condition known as intracranial hypertension (IIH).

In testing on animals, Dr Sinclair demonstrated that the application of Exenatide via injection beneath the skin was shown to “reduce intracranial pressure”.

A Phase II concept study is now underway to test for side effects of the treatment for patients with intracranial hypertension.

For the treatment of Type II diabetes, Exenatide was first cleared for use back in 2005 and has been approved by both the US Food & Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency.

The University of Birmingham has filed patent applications for the use of Exenatide in other applications, including the treatment of IIH.

“These patent applications and orphan designations will be assigned to Invex at completion of the offer,” the company said.

Use of funds

Invex said it will deploy the funds raised to purchase intellectual property from the University of Birmingham, giving it legal rights to the future commercial development of the ICP treatment.

Other high-priority areas include patent costs, a Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of IIH in the US and Europe, and a proof of concept for the drug’s application in the treatment of ICP from trauma and stroke.

The company said it’s looking to take advantage of a large market opportunity to treat IIH in connection with intracranial pressure, stemming from the trend of “growing obesity in Western countries”