Abivax's IPO to fund HIV and hep B pipeline before potential Big Pharma deal

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Abivax has worked with La Centre national de la recherche scientifique in Montpellier, France in developing its HIV drug candidate
Abivax has worked with La Centre national de la recherche scientifique in Montpellier, France in developing its HIV drug candidate

Related tags Hepatitis b Initial public offering

In France’s largest ever biotech IPO, Abivax has raised €58m ($64m) to continue developing its HIV and Hep B candidates.

The Paris-headquartered company launched itself on the Euronext market at an initial price of €21.3 per share after raising €57.7m its initial public offering (IPO) which, the firm told this publication, is a testament to Abivax’s drug candidates despite Europe’s ongoing financial crisis.

“Given the fact that we were able to launch the largest Biotech IPO in France ever, despite the growing concerns about Greece running into bankruptcy, first and foremost speaks to the Abivax offering which investors apparently liked,”​ CEO Hartmut Ehrlich said.

Abivax’s two lead candidates are ABX203, a chronic hepatitis B vaccine, and ABX464, an anti-retroviral targeting HIV.

“The money raised will be used to fund the pivotal phase IIb/III study for ABX 203, and also the initial applications for Marketing Authorization, as well as at least the phase II program for ABX464,”​ Ehrlich explained.

This way, the funds are expected to last for two to two-and-a-half years, by which time we expect to have a deal in place with a larger pharma or biotech company.”

Functional HIV cure?

The company uses both in-house capabilities and third parties for product development. ABX464, for example, was discovered and initially developed in the Abivax and CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) laboratories in Montpellier, France, but “most of the GLP work was accomplished using CROs, and the same is true for the clinical development,”​ Ehrlich said.

However, he added, “some critical experiments – with respect to the mechanism of action and to the efficacy, for example - have been conducted in academic settings.”

ABX464’s mechanism works by preventing viral RNA being exported from the nucleus of a cell to the cytoplasm where protein synthesis takes place, mediated by a viral protein called Rev. By inhibiting Rev, the molecule targets both infected and non-infected cells, and “has the potential to change the way HIV patients are treated and could even become a cornerstone of a functional cure,” Ehrlich previously told in-Pharmatechnologist.com​.

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