LONDON - Alizyme plc is raising up to #21.2 million (US$31.6 million) with a placing and open offer, both at #1 per share.

The placing of 14 million shares is being underwritten by Nomura International. The offer of 7.2 million shares is not underwritten. Shares in the company, which is listed on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM), closed at #1.08 the day before the fund raising was announced on July 12.

The placing and open offer is the largest in the history of Alizyme, which was set up 1996 to specialize in gastrointestinal diseases and obesity.

CEO Richard Palmer told BioWorld International, "I am absolutely delighted, and very pleased with the quality of investors and the geographical spread." The company attracted 20 new investors. "Although we did have continental European investors who had bought shares in the market, we are pleased that investors in countries including Germany, Belgium and Denmark, who we approached directly, decided to take part."

Palmer does not expect all the open offer to be taken up. "Anything north of #1.5 million will be fine." With existing resources, he expects Alizyme to have around #20 million in cash.

"We have served our time on AIM, and now qualify in terms of our progress and having sufficient working capital to join the main market [the London Stock Exchange], and will move up before Christmas," he said.

Alizyme, based in Cambridge, UK, now has the funds to progress its obesity treatment into Phase II trials. ATL-962, a lipase inhibitor, has just completed a Phase Ia study in 32 volunteers, and is due to go into a Phase IIb efficacy trial involving repeat dosing before the end of September.

Alizyme also will complete the current Phase IIa trial of ATL-1251 (renzapride) in irritable bowel syndrome, which has completed recruitment, and move into additional Phase II trials. ATL-1251 was in-licensed from SmithKline Beecham plc (SB), which had an option to take it back at the end of Phase II. However, SB was forced to hand full rights over to Alizyme in May following discussions with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over the proposed merger with Glaxo Wellcome plc. The FTC ruled that with renzapride the merged company would have held a dominant position in treatments for irritable bowel syndrome.

In addition, Alizyme will conduct a Phase II trial for ATL-2502 for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, and take ATL-101 for the treatment of mucositis, currently in preclinical development, up to Phase II.

The company still plans to look for partners at the end of Phase II. "But we can now progress our products further into clinical development, and expand the clinical data packages with additional indications and activities," Palmer said.

He also intends to spend some of the money enlarging the pipeline. "By the end of next year we could have three compounds in Phase II, and one in Phase III, and a gap behind, so we need to get more into the portfolio."

No Comments