Swiss Biotech Firm Molecular Partners AG Plans $134 Million IPO

Published: Sep 23, 2014

Swiss Biotech Firm Molecular Partners AG Plans $134 Million IPO

September 23, 2014

By Jessica Wilson, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Molecular Partners, the Zurich, Switzerland-based biotech company, today announced it will list shares on Switzerland's SIX exchange in the fourth quarter. The company hopes to net 125 million Swiss francs ($134 million) in its initial public offering (IPO), for which J.P. Morgan will act as the sole global coordinator, though as a joint bookrunner with UBS Investment Bank.

Christian Zahnd, CEO of Molecular Partners, said in a statement: “Together with my founding partners, we started the business ten years ago. Since then we have successfully developed Molecular Partners as a pioneer in the development of multi-benefit therapies with the vision to transform the lives of patients.” He continued by expressing his hope for the future, “Our work focuses on significantly improving the lives of patients in need and to create long-term value to our shareholders. I am enthusiastic about the prospects of continuing to build a sustainable biopharmaceutical company and the future growth which will be supported by the planned IPO.

Molecular Partners has several products in its pipeline, including four DARPin product candidates. The company defines DARPins, also referred to as designed repeat proteins, on their website as, “a novel class of protein therapeutics.” Molecular Partners explains, on their website, the appeal of this class of protein therapeutics, “DARPins are as target specific and potent as monoclonal antibodies. Yet, being small proteins, they overcome many of the known limitations of conventional protein-based therapeutic approaches.” DARPin-based therapies are being developed to treat diseases in oncology, immunology and ophthalmology.

According to the company, the most advanced DARPin product candidate is abcipar pegol, a long-acting inhibitor of VEGF, used for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) in patients. Abicipar, which has been out-licensed to Allergan, has been tested in Phase II clinical studies and is expected to begin Phase III studies in the second quarter of 2015.

The company has also entered into collaborations with Roche to develop selected DARPin products in oncology and with Janssen Biotech to develop therapies in immunology.

Molecular Partners stated the money raised in the IPO would be used to pay for further development of DARPins, investments in other R&D activities, as well as the acquisition of complementary businesses.

According to Reuters, since 2004, when the company was founded, it has received, “around 56 million Swiss francs of venture capital and 161 million francs of non-equity funding from its blue-chip partners.”

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