Nasdaq is still the leading source of capital for young Israeli companies. UroGen Pharma (Nasdaq: URGN), which held its IPO in mid-2017, raised $60 million last weekend in a secondary issue, bringing the amount that the company has raised on Nasdaq to nearly $120 million.
The current round was conducted at a price of $41 per share, a 4.3% discount on the share price on the morning of the announcement. The share price has since risen to $43, reflected a $567 million market cap for UroGen. The company's share price has climbed 230% since its IPO in April 2017.
UroGen has been an outstanding success on Nasdaq, not merely among Israeli companies, but for any company. The company benefits from the luster of Prof. Arie Belldegrun, who last summer sold Kite Pharma to Gilead Sciences for $12 billion.
Cooperation with Allergan
UroGen, managed by CEO Ron Bentsur, a former CEO of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals and XTL Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. (Nasdaq:XTLB); TASE:XTL), has developed a unique system for delivering drugs to the bladder. The company's unique gel, a liquid at room temperature that becomes a gel at body temperature, preserves the drug within the bladder for a long time, thereby solving the leading problem in delivering drugs for treating bladder cancer - that they are washed out of the body quickly.
A second product that the company is developing in cooperation with Allergan, the company that develops and markets Botox, is a Botox-based product for relieving overactive bladder syndrome. The two companies hope that injecting a gel containing Botox into the bladder will create the same relief with a procedure that is far less invasive.
UroGen's independent product is slated to enter Phase IIb clinical trials (multi-center effectiveness trials) by mid-2018, while the Botox product was scheduled to enter Phase II trials by Allergan by the end of 2017, trials that were slightly delayed, as sometimes happens in cooperative efforts with large corporations.
An upcoming wave of offerings?
UroGen's financing round, together with the planned IPOs by Entera Bio and Motus GI Medical Technologies, show that the offerings market is getting off to a good start in 2018. This time of year, after the holidays have ended and the companies have scouted the territory at the JP Morgan conference, is usually a time of issues by medical companies on Nasdaq.
Several companies, including Sol-Gel, PolyPid, Gamida Cell, and possibly also BioCanCell, are already in the line for offerings, and may be joined by Exalenz Bioscience Ltd. (TASE:EXEN). Other companies may also get in the line if the market continues to show positive signs.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on January 21, 2018
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