Developer of a novel treatment for stroke victims Argenica Therapeutics (ASX: AGN) has made its ASX debut today after a successful $7 million IPO.
With Alto Capital acting as the lead manager to the IPO, Argenica issued 35 million shares at $0.20 each and listed with a market capitalisation of $14.6 million.
The company rocketed to $0.32 per share on its first day of trade, which was a 60% premium to its $0.20 IPO price.
Argenica is developing a novel therapeutic which is designed to be administered by first responders to reduce brain tissue damage following a stroke.
This is expected to improve patient outcomes and reduce long-term healthcare costs.
Argenica chief executive officer Dr Liz Dallimore said the ASX debut marked the biggest milestone in the company’s history as it leverages off a “robust” capital base to move into clinical trials of its lead candidate ARG-007.
No current marketed treatment
According to Argenica, there is no marketed treatment currently available that can protect the brain from damage following a stroke.
Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability globally with substantial economic costs for post-stroke care.
It is estimated the economic cost to treat stroke victims will reach $183 billion by 2030.
Ischemic strokes account for 85% of all strokes and are a result of a clot disrupting blood supply to the brain.
Following this, many victims suffer significant disability and other health issues, with rehabilitation often taking prolonged periods.
Current treatments for this form of stroke are administered after an imaging diagnosis. However, they need to be given within 4.5 hours of the stroke’s onset.
Argenica noted these treatments focus on dissolving or surgically removing a clot and do not prevent or reverse further neuronal damage or cell death.
Novel treatment for ‘urgent, unmet need’
With its lead neuroprotective peptide candidate ARG-007, the company aims to provide a “foundational” treatment in this space.
ARG-007 has been developed for in-field paramedics to administer prior to a patient’s arrival at the hospital.
Argenica says this approach could potentially reduce brain tissue death in the period before formal diagnosis and treatment – resulting in “greatly enhanced” recovery outcomes.
Widely applicable and effective treatments in this space remain an “urgent, unmet need”.
Argenica aims to meet this unmet need and sees a “large commercial opportunity” in the field.
“Protecting vulnerable brain tissue from dying after a stroke isn’t just a highly compelling commercial opportunity, it is also a chance to truly improve the lives of millions of people who suffer from stroke globally each year,” Dr Dallimore added.
In pre-clinical research, Argenica’s ARG-007 drug has demonstrated improved outcomes in stroke models.
The company’s development partners include the world-renowned Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science and the University of Western Australia.
IPO proceeds will be used to build on the pre-clinical work and transition into an extensive phase 1 clinical trial.
The clinical trial is scheduled to begin in the December quarter of this year.
As well as stroke victims, Argenica plans to explore further applications for its technology in other neurological conditions.
“We are excited to move this project forward with support from our tier one research partners and a well credentialled team and board who have a proven track record of success with early-stage biotechnology companies,” Dr Dallimore said.