Arix Bioscience announces first VIPE investment
Arix Bioscience leads A$24 million (£13.4 million) financing for Pharmaxis
Funding to accelerate the development of Pharmaxis’ fibrosis and anti-inflammatory programmes, as the company advances numerous candidates from its Amine Oxidase drug discovery platform
First Venture Investment in Public Equity (VIPE) led by Arix, taking core portfolio to 14 companies
LONDON, 6 August 2018: Arix Bioscience plc (LSE: ARIX), a global healthcare and life science company supporting medical innovation, today announces that it has acquired an 11 per cent interest in Pharmaxis Ltd (ASX: PXS), an Australian pharmaceutical research company focused on inflammation and fibrosis with a portfolio of products at various stages of development and approval.
The A$24 million (£13.4 million) primary placing was led by Arix Bioscience and included participation from existing investors BVF Partners L.P., and supported by other existing shareholders.
Arix Bioscience has invested A$14.2 million (£8.0 million) in a two tranche placement, and following shareholder approval of the second tranche, Arix will hold approximately 11 per cent of the total outstanding shares of Pharmaxis. The Pharmaxis Board has approved the nomination of Arix’s Edward Rayner to join the Board at the EGM in September 2018.
Pharmaxis’ lead development programme is an anti-fibrotic Lysyl Oxidase-Like type 2 (LOXL2) inhibitor. This is an exciting enzymatic target that acts at a crucial stage of pathogenic fibrosis. The net proceeds of the placing will be used to further develop the programme for the treatment of a range of fibrotic diseases, including Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), heart and kidney fibrosis. The first stage of phase 1 studies has demonstrated a best in class profile for LOXL-2 inhibitors with two compounds achieving significant and long-lasting inhibition of LOXL-2 enzyme after a single oral dose. The final stages of the phase 1 studies and phase 2 enabling toxicity studies are expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2018.
The first molecule produced by Pharmaxis' drug discovery platform was sold to Boehringer Ingelheim in 2015 and is currently in phase 2 trials for NASH and Diabetic Retinopathy. The company has two more programmes that are rapidly moving towards the clinic.
Joe Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Arix Bioscience, commented: “We are very pleased to have led Pharmaxis’ successful financing as it continues to build its position as a world leader in mechanism-based inhibitors of amine oxidases for patients suffering from fibrotic and inflammatory diseases. This is the first investment in a public company that Arix has led and reflects our flexibility and commitment to providing capital to innovative companies with strong leadership teams. We see a number of opportunities to help build high value companies through our VIPE strategy.
“In addition, it is our first investment in a company based in Australia, demonstrating our growing global reach, where we see a rich landscape of world-class science and high quality companies. We look forward to supporting Pharmaxis’ ambitious and internationally-experienced management team in developing these potentially first-in-class treatments for patients while we continue to build value for our shareholders.”
Gary Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of Pharmaxis, commented: “We are delighted with the strong support for the capital raising from Arix and our existing shareholders, as we head into partnering negotiations for our LOXL2 inhibitor program. This will put Pharmaxis in a strong position to negotiate the best partnering outcome and continue investing in its preclinical pipeline. Pharmaxis will also be strengthened by Arix’s extensive global networks and deep industry knowledge, which will help accelerate the company’s next phase of growth and development.”