SYDNEY - After successfully acquiring a listed biotech company, Biotech International Ltd. plans to raise A$30 million from American investors by spinning off a blood-clot imaging technology acquired along with the company.
Biotech, of Perth, Australia, has disclosed the new, as-yet-unnamed one-product corporation will be based in San Diego, where Biotech has close industry ties, and will be listed.
In a detailed document outlining the company's plans for the future, released to the Australian Stock Exchange, Biotech executives said they anticipate raising A$30 million in the one-product firm and intend to retain a controlling interest in the company.
Biotech Executive Director Graeme Boden said his company decided to spin off the technology into a U.S. venture because the U.S. capital markets are much deeper, especially for biotech stocks.
He said Biotech executives obviously believe the blood-clot imaging technology has considerable potential and so is worthy of a separate float.
The document on the company's plans, titled “Biotech International Ltd. - The Way Forward,“ stated the new company initially will raise money from investment banks and specialist funds to take it through to listing.
As previously reported, Biotech bought all of the stock of the Brisbane-based Agen Ltd. for A$17.8 million cash through a stock market bid that ended in May. (See BioWorld International, May 20, 1998, p. 1.)
Among other biotech and pharmaceutical assets, including an operation that manufactures and sells high-temperature enzymes for use in PCR technology, Agen has a monoclonal antibody that detects the D-dimer protein found in blood clots.
That antibody has long been used by Agen in a blood-clot testing kit, but after the takeover bid was reported, the company declared it intended to look at using the detection antibody as a platform for some form of marker or cure for blood clots.
In 1993 the antibody was matched with a radioisotope and, after preliminary clinical trials, the combined product was taken up by a subsidiary of Eli Lilly an Co., of Indianapolis, only to be dropped after the multinational decided to concentrate on core products.
The Biotech document filed with the Australian Stock Exchange stated that after commissioning a review of the radiopharmaceuticals by the U.S. consulting group Front Line Strategic Management Consulting, in Foster City Calif., Biotech decided to press ahead with development of the antibody, known as 3B6, as a diagnostic radiopharmaceutical.
Also, as part of the overall plan to become profitable by the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, the group said it intends to establish a new, wholly owned subsidiary, Industrial BioSystems, to handle the commercial production of enzymes used in paper and pulp manufacture. *