8/15/2014 7:04:08 AM
Lung Biotech Proqr Therapeutics Files For A $75 Million IPO To Give Vertex Pharmaceuticals Some Competition
August 15, 2014
By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
On Aug. 14, Dutch biotechnology company ProQR Therapeutics filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $75 million in its initial public offering. ProQR Therapeutics is looking to gain ground on its competitor, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, by developing more drugs geared toward cystic fibrosis.
ProQR’s goal is to relieve patients of symptoms of cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that affects more than 30,000 Americans, by repairing the basic genetic defect at the RNA level.
ProQR initially filed in July 2014 with Leerink Partners and Deutsche Bank as joint bookrunners on the deal. Pricing terms have not been disclosed to the public as of yet.
Daniel de Boer, Gerard Platenburg, Dinko Valerio and Henri Termeer founded the company in May 2012 with the main goal of finding a treatment for cystic fibrosis. ProQR has now expanded to more than 50 employees who are working toward this cause.
The Prominence of Vertex
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) has been a long-standing leader in the race to cure cystic fibrosis. In October 2013, it shared news on the recent progress of its KALYDECO drug, which is already available to patients throughout numerous countries in Europe. Researchers found in 144-week study that KALYDECO provided durable treatment effects in lung function when continuously administered.
"KALYDECO was the first medicine to treat the underlying cause of CF, and we believe that KALYDECO is just the first step of our work in CF," said Robert Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Vertex. "Our goal in CF is to help many more people with this disease and to evaluate multiple combinations of CFTR modulators aimed at providing further benefit for people with CF."
However, ProQR’s recent developments may eventually make it a strong competitor to Vertex. Regardless, cystic fibrosis continues to be a worldwide issue for those who are living with the disease every day.
Cystic Fibrosis is a life-long disease that results in mucus build-up in the lungs, pancreas and other organs throughout the body. When mucus builds up in the lungs, individuals find it difficult to breathe, and it can eventually result in significant infections. There are about 1,000 new cases of cystic fibrosis diagnosed each year in the U.S., and it occurs in 1 out of every 3,700 infants.
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