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Barry Cohen
Barry Cohen
Articles (177) 

Annexon Seeks to Match $100 Million Fund Raise in IPO

Backed by prominent investors, company seeks to develop drugs for Guillain-Barre syndrome and Huntington’s disease

July 07, 2020

On the heels of a successful fund raise of $100 million, South San Francisco-based biotech Annexon is now looking to go public.

Annexon is poised to capitalize on the hot market for biotech IPOs to raise additional capital to fund its R&D programs. Investors might want to follow the companys path to its public debut, in my opinion, as its research seems quite promising.

Annexon is concentrating on developing drugs for autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders caused by an abnormal accumulation of a protein that is part of the immune system. The gathering of this protein can cause a response that destroys synapses, causing neurodegeneration.

If successful, the companys treatments could be used against diseases like Guillain-Barrsyndrome, warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia, Huntingtons disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to an article in End Points. Annexon has set a preliminary target of $100 million for the offering and has applied to list on the NASDAQ exchange.

With more than 13% of the equity, Bain Capital Life Sciences Investors holds the largest position in the company. Other top investors include Clarus, NEA and Novartis Bioventures. Other blue-chippers contributing to the $100 million round were new investors Redmile Group BlackRock, Deerfield Management Company, Eventide Asset Management, Farallon Capital Management, Janus Henderson Investors and Logos Capital.

Douglas Love, president and CEO of Annexon, said the funds will enable the company to speed up its clinical and preclinical programs aimed at capitalizing on the vast potential of our pioneering approach to combating classical complement-mediated diseases.

Five-year-old Annexon was started with a $34 million Series A financing round that was led by the investment arm of Novartis (NVS). Love was formerly an executive with Elan, which later merged with Perrigo Co. (PRGO). The biotech was founded by the late Stanford professor Ben Barres and Arnon Rosenthal, a well-known biotech entrepreneur who also launched Alector (ALEC). Rosenthal also founded Rinat Neuroscience Corp., which was acquired by Pfizer Inc. (PFE) in 2006.

The foundation of the company is built on Barnes theory that aberrant activation of the C1q protein destroys synapses, which are critically important neuronal connections. Stopping that could have broad-ranging effects.The company is also testing an antibody fragment to treat patients with an advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration.

Annexons two product candidates in clinical tests are both designed to inhibit C1q. The more advanced of the two is being studied as a potential for Guillain-Barre syndrome, as well as Huntingtons disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

According to its prospectus, Annexon estimates it will get initial data from phase 2 trials in all those indications next year, except for the GBS study, which is expected to have phase 2 and 3 data in 2023.

Disclosure: The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article.

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About the author:

Barry Cohen
Barry Cohen has nearly 40 years experience in communications and marketing, the majority in senior positions at large international health care companies, including Abbott Laboratories and Bayer Inc.

He has contributed to a number of financial websites, writing primarily about the stocks of health care companies.

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