Probiodrug plans IPO to accelerate Alzheimer’s ambitions

Germany’s Probiodrug has become the latest European biotech to consider an initial public offering (IPO) as it tries to usher an Alzheimer’s candidate through clinical trials.

Probiodrug wants to list on the Euronext exchange in Amsterdam but has not indicated yet how much it hopes to raise from going public.

The company is focusing on the development of small-molecule inhibitors of an enzyme called glutaminyl cyclase (GQ) that is involved in the creation of small soluble amyloid beta aggregates called oligomers that it believes are central to the pathology in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The company notes that attempts to treat AD by reducing amyloid beta plaques, by limiting production of the peptide or enhancing its clearance, have disappointed in the clinic.

‘A different, more targeted, approach should be taken as there are many forms of amyloid beta with different, sometimes even beneficial, characteristics,’ the company points out, adding that GQ seems to be involved in creating the toxic ‘pyroglutamate’ oligomers.

The money raised will be used to help develop Probiodrug’s lead candidate PQ912, which is due to start phase II testing in AD early next year and both prevents the formation of pyroglutamate amyloid beta and clears it from the central nervous system.

The German company also has PBD-CO6 – a monoclonal antibody targeting pyroglutamate amyloid beta – as well as another GQ inhibitor called PQ1565 in preclinical development.

Earlier this year, it licensed a cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) inhibitor programme with potential in cancer and inflammatory diseases to AstraZeneca (AZ).

The company joins Molecular Partners, AC Immune, Novimmune and OSE Pharma among EU biotechs which are planning, or at least considering, IPOs at the moment, although the European sector lacks the sense of excitement that has been apparent over the Atlantic in the US in the last couple of years.

Dealogic reported recently that to date in 2014 more than $4 billion has been raised by US biotechs, while in the EU the tally is less than half that, at around $1.4 billion.

Probiodrug’s investors include BB Biotech and Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners.

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