GeNeuro plans IPO on Euronext Paris23.03.2016 14:41
After finalizing its annual financial statements for 2015, GeNeuro, a biopharmaceutical company based in Geneva developing new treatments for autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS), has today reaffirmed its plan to raise capital through an initial public offering on the regulated market of Euronext’s in Paris.
GeNeuro, founded in 2006, is a spin-off from the Mérieux Institute and is creating a technological platform for the development of new treatments targeting potential causes of neurological disorders and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and type-1 diabetes.
The Company entered into a development collaboration and option for a license agreement with Servier in November 2014. Under this agreement, the Company received in December 2014 an initial payment of €8 million, generating operating revenue of €7.3 million during the 2014 financial year and €0.7 million in 2015, plus an initial milestone payment of €17.5 million in December 2015.
GeNeuro is now planning an IPO on Euronext Paris. “Following the registration of our document de base in January, we are today reaffirming our plan to launch an IPO. The aim is to accelerate the pace of our development in the fields of multiple sclerosis as well as new indications”, commented Jesús Martin-Garcia, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GeNeuro. “The planned IPO comes right after the recent launch of the Phase IIb clinical trial of GNbAC1, our first product. Servier has already agreed to pay GeNeuro €37.5 million out of up to €362.5 million in total financing, excluding royalties, based on the development of the product. By targeting a potential cause of multiple sclerosis, GNbAC1 has the potential to provide a safe and effective treatment that does not affect the patient’s immune system. If successful, it would represent a paradigm shift for an estimated number of 2.5 million patients worldwide.”
The planned IPO remains subject to market conditions and regulatory requirements including the Autorité des Marchés Financiers’ approval of a prospectus prepared as part of the IPO.
GeNeuro’s key highlights
- GNbAC1, the first treatment directly targeting a potential cause of multiple sclerosis: this novel approach is the result of 25 years of research into human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), including 15 years with the Mérieux Institute and INSERM, before GeNeuro was founded in 2006. GeNeuro has developed GNbAC1, a monoclonal antibody currently in Phase IIb of clinical development, as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. GNbAC1, by neutralising the MSRV-Env protein without targeting the patient’s immune system, could be a treatment that is both safe and effective in slowing and / or stopping the disease in all of its forms.
- A new therapeutic approach while no currently available treatment appears to reduce in a significant manner the progression of the disease: current treatments are approved for the “relapsing/remitting” forms of MS, affecting 60% of patients, and work by altering or suppressing patient’s immune functions. These treatments reduce the number of inflammatory flare-ups with this form of MS, but may cause undesirable side effects in patients because of the way they affect their immune system. Moreover, there is still no approved treatment for the progressive forms of MS, which affect around 35% of patients.
- A collaboration and licensing agreement with a major French pharmaceutical group: GeNeuro has entered into an agreement with Servier, which has agreed to pay GeNeuro up to €362.5 million excluding royalties, based on the development of GNbAC1. This agreement relates solely to multiple sclerosis and does not cover either the US market (the largest in the world) nor the Japanese market. GeNeuro has therefore retained all of its rights in two-thirds of the global multiple sclerosis market, along with its rights to develop its technology for other diseases.
- Considerable potential beyond multiple sclerosis: GeNeuro plans to capitalise on its technology’s potential by developing a therapeutic platform focusing on diseases potentially caused by HERVs. Other indications being explored by GeNeuro include CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy), an orphan neurological disease, and type-1 diabetes. GeNeuro is currently planning Phase IIa proof-of-concept trials in these indications.
- Support from highly reputed pharmaceutical groups: confirming its commitment to the Company’s long-term development, Servier acquired an equity stake in GeNeuro in December 2015. Together, the Mérieux Institute and Servier now own more than 45% of GeNeuro’s capital.
Rationale for the Offering
The planned IPO is intended to provide GeNeuro with the resources needed to accelerate the pace of its development, including:
- Opening clinical centres in the United States in connection with the Phase IIb trial already underway in Europe, for GNbAC1 in the MS indication and strengthening ties with academic institutions in the United States. The aim of these measures is to facilitate the launch of a Phase III trial for GNbAC1 in the MS indication in the United States;
- Conduct pre-clinical and clinical Phase II trials for GNbAC1 in other indications with substantial unmet medical needs, where MSRV-Env is detected in the affected tissues, such as type-1 diabetes and CIDP, and other human diseases in which HERV may also play a key role and that are currently incurable, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and stepping up research activities in conjunction with academic institutions;
- Strengthening the Company’s organisation to be prepared for planning and conducting of a Phase III trial in the United States.
Image: Paris Pao - fotolia.com