Vaccitech confidentially files for Nasdaq IPO — report; Sanofi recommits to social causes, launches global nonprofit
Another biotech is reportedly headed to Nasdaq, one that plays a prominent role in the Covid-19 vaccine race.
Coming from the shores of Britain, Vaccitech confidentially filed for an IPO on Wednesday, per a report from the Financial Times. The company hasn’t filed any paperwork with the SEC just yet, and it’s unclear what kind of raise they’re estimating. FT noted that the company could price as early as this month, however.
Vaccitech is the biotech behind the AstraZeneca/Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine, owning the technology that drove the shot’s development. Its co-founder, Sarah Gilbert, also led the research into the vaccine.
Just a few weeks ago, Vaccitech pulled in a monster $168 million Series B, led by London investment firm M&G and joined by Gilead and Tencent, among others. Valued as little as $86 million back in 2019, Vaccitech is now valued at over $450 million thanks to the March raise. The company had originally been working on a MERS vaccine, which they then used as a pilot program for the Covid-19 research.
IPO cash has been flowing into biotech over the last 12 months, with 2020 recording a record raise for the sector. That’s only continued through the first quarter of 2021, with more than two dozen companies raising a combined $4.64 billion so far.
But optimism for Vaccitech may be limited as concerns linger over the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine. The Big Pharma paused its vaccine trial in children Tuesday as regulators continue to look into a possible link between the shot and blood clot events.
Sanofi launches global nonprofit as part of new social push
Sanofi is expanding its social commitments and creating a new nonprofit to deliver essential medicines to poorer nations, CEO Paul Hudson announced in an open letter Wednesday.
The nonprofit, to be called Sanofi Global Health, is aimed at increasing access to medicines considered essential by the WHO for patients in 40 lower income countries. 30 of Sanofi’s therapeutics will be provided across a range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, tuberculosis, malaria and cancer.
Sanofi Global Health will also help train healthcare professionals and set up and develop sustainable care systems for those who suffer from chronic diseases. Sanofi says this is the first effort of its kind to provide as broad a portfolio as detailed in Hudson’s letter.
In addition to the nonprofit, Sanofi is also recommitting to increase diversity within its workforce and eliminate plastic packaging for vaccines and other products.
“Throughout this pandemic, public authorities, scientists, and industry have worked closely together to discover and produce vaccines at a pace that has defied historical precedent,” Hudson wrote. “We now have to apply this same sense of urgency to other pressing threats, such as climate change, and issues that the pandemic has sharply put into focus, including widening racial and healthcare inequalities.”
Tysabri injections OK’ed in Europe
Biogen expanded its Tysabri franchise in Europe on Wednesday, winning a new approval from the European Commission to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis through subcutaneous injection.
The new administration method compares similarly in both safety and efficacy to Tysabri’s IV formulation, Biogen said in its announcement. The company says it’s now the only high-efficacy MS therapy to offer two different administration options.
Like the IV infusion, the Tysabri injections are dosed at 300 mg every four weeks by a healthcare provider. The aim of the new method is to expand the clinical settings in which patients can be treated beyond infusion centers, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic still in full swing.
Tysabri was originally approved in Europe back in 2006.