Sofinnova lends AbiVax a hand for PhII anti-inflammatory trials, picking up €12M worth of stock
Paris-based AbiVax has secured a lifeline from Sofinnova Partners to keep steering its lead drug toward clinical milestones in 2020.
The €12 million ($14 million) capital raise buys Abivax some time — until the end of Q2, 2020 — to execute several Phase II studies for ABX464, including ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Abivax will also direct some funds toward ABX196, a potential treatment for hepatocellular cancer.
While ABX464 was originally designed as an HIV drug — and the company continues to list antiviral as a big part of its pipeline — Sofinnova clearly sees more potential in how its modulation of RNA splicing can tone down inflammation.
“We are particularly motivated by the strong anti-inflammatory properties and proof of concept demonstrated to date by ABX464 and its broad potential to address multiple diseases where patients are not adequately treated by existing therapies,” partner Kinam Hong said in a statement.
If they are right, they would have gotten a good deal by paying the market rate. Currently trading at €8.75, Abivax had seen its share price tumble 30% since the beginning of the year. Its cash reserve of €13 million at the end of 2018 was only supposed to last one more year.
With its new 12.7% stake, Sofinnova is still a minor investor compared to the founding shareholder Truffle Capital. But the latter’s holding has dropped from 70% to 45.8%.
“Abivax now has sufficient time and resources to leverage maximum value in ongoing partnering discussions for ABX464, while also providing funding to achieve important value-creating milestones in three phase 2 trials of ABX464 in ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease and one phase 1/2 trial of ABX196 in liver cancer,” CEO Hartmut Ehrlich said in a statement.