AI startup BioXcel Therapeutics shoots for $69M IPO with drugs for Alzheimer’s, cancer

A new artificial intelligence startup is toeing the IPO waters, announcing plans for a $69 million public offering that may test investors’ appetite for risk.

BioXcel Therapeutics, founded less than a year ago, says it’s applying big data and machine learning to its hunt for new therapeutics. The company is taking a “re-innovation approach,” applying its proprietary algorithms to existing approved drugs and clinically validated product candidates to find opportunities to tweak or improve the therapies.

“We believe that this differentiated approach has the potential to reduce the cost and time of drug development in diseases with substantial unmet medical need,” the company said in a statement.

The company’s two most advanced clinical programs include BXCL501, a formulation of dexmedetomidine, designed to treat agitations resulting from neurological and psychiatric disorders. Dex, as it’s called, is also sold under Pfizer’s brand name Precedex, among other names. BioXcel has started a Phase Ib study using an IV formulation of Dex in mild probable Alzheimer’s patients, and plans to start a study in schizophrenia patients in the first half of 2018.

The company’s other program is BXCL701, an I/O agent to treat a rare form of prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer. The drug is a small molecule inhibitor of dipeptidyl peptidase 8-9 and fibroblast activation protein (FAP), and it’s in Phase I/II trials, according to the company’s website.

Funds from the IPO will be used to support both programs through Phase II clinical development and potentially one registration trial, the company said in an SEC statement.

The IPO window was wide open during the last half of 2017, with many speculating 2018 would be similarly friendly to those seeking to go public. It will be interesting to keep on eye on BioXcel’s performance after listing to judge just how open investors are to young companies heading to the Nasdaq. The company will be listed under stock symbol $BTAI.

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