IPO Watch: Mosquito disease fighter Island Pharmaceuticals doubles on debut
Another day, another IPO – today the new listee was biotech Island Pharmaceuticals (ASX:ILA).
Island Pharmaceuticals is one of the few biotechs fighting mosquito diseases, particularly dengue fever.
Its flagship drug ISLA-101 was originally a developmental cancer drug developed by biotech giant Johnson & Johnson.
The company has repurposed it against dengue – a disease that infects 390 million people annually of which 30-50 per cent are symptomatic and is expected to rise due to climate change and the consequential boom in travel of mosquitos.
While dengue has been historically confined to Africa, Asia and the South and Central Americas, cases have been recorded in Australia and the USA in recent years. The company also says ISLA-101 has potential to treat other mosquito viruses including Zika and chikungunya.
The IPO of Island Pharmaceuticals raised $7.5 million at 25 cents per share.
Upon debut at 10.30am (AEST) it doubled to 50 cents per share and continued to grow from there.
While health IPOs have been few in 2021, ILA has followed in their footsteps in gaining.
The only other biotech to list this year, Chimeric Therapeutics (ASX:CHM), is up 50 per cent since listing in January and medical imaging company Singular Health Group (ASX:SHG) has more than tripled.
The company hopes its IPO will fund a Phase II clinical study.
Its biggest shareholder is William Garner who used to be chairman of high flyer Race Oncology (ASX:RAC) – he owns over 26 per cent.
Another personality from Race is its current chief scientific officer Daniel Tillett who has a more modest 0.61 per cent but is the 17th largest shareholder.
ASX stockspert Bhavdip Sanghavi (@Bhavdip143 on Twitter) has also backed Island Pharmaceuticals’ IPO.
Speaking with Stockhead’s Mike Cooper, Sanghavi said he liked several aspects about the company. In particular he noted that the company had a repurposed drug and its low valuation compared to its peers.
“The Island Pharma valuation is $12.5m versus a list of peer market caps of between $230m and $830m. I have rarely seen such good value in an IPO stock,” he said.