Imugene raises $18.2m to fund azer-cel worldwide licencing deal

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By Imelda Cotton - 
Imugene raises fund azer-cel worldwide licencing deal ASX IMU blood cancer

Clinical stage immuno-oncology company Imugene (ASX: IMU) has raised $18.2 million from a share purchase plan component of a capital raising exercise to fund the acquisition of worldwide licensing rights for lead candidate azer-cel to target blood cancers.

The SPP was conducted as part of a wider funding exercise to raise approximately $65 million.
It aimed to bring in $30 million alongside a $35 million institutional share placement.

Imugene will this week issue approximately 325 million shares at $0.056 each under the SPP, representing the lower of $0.084 and a 2.5% discount to the five-day volume weighted average price.

Eligible shareholders will also receive one free option for every new share, with an exercise price of $0.118 per option and an August 2026 expiry date.

Funds raised will be directed to Precision Biosciences Inc to meet the requirements of an exclusive licencing deal secured in August for azer-cel allogeneic CD19 Car-T technology and will include an US$8 million upfront payment; deferred consideration and milestone payment obligations; and associated manufacturing, clinical trial, regulatory and working capital costs.

Strong foundation

Imugene executive chairman Paul Hopper said the capital raising would provide a strong foundation for the company.

“Imugene is now well placed to continue development of a portfolio of world-class assets and provide shareholder value to our loyal investors in due course,” he said.

“The company is in an enviable position with regards to its balance sheet with the financial horsepower to execute across all our platforms… we appreciate the strong support and belief in our vision from new and existing investors.”

SPP extension

Earlier this month, the SPP was extended by four weeks to allow Imugene shareholders the opportunity to consider market announcements regarding azer-cel and the PD1-Vaxx drug candidate for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer.

The company received positive feedback from the US Food and Drug Administration on a manufacturing process for azer-cel to allow for increased robustness, consistency and scalability.

It was also granted a new patent by the Japanese Patent Office for PD1-Vaxx, being developed to treat tumours such as lung cancer by interfering with PD-1/PD-L1 binding and interactions.