It’s not the $700M headlines imply, but AC Immune is winding up to make a splashy IPO of €52.5M to establish itself in the Alzheimer’s Disease space.

images-1You might have read about AC Immune‘s ‘$700M IPO’ and thought, “gee, that can’t be right – that sum is roughly half of the total from all European companies to IPO in 2015“. Well, you’d be right: the press release was beguiling, but the company is still going for a relatively large IPO of  €52.5M.

European companies have recently been pricing themselves at around €40M in their IPO’s. CRISPR companies generally occupy the top tier, though every now and then a monster threatens to disrupt their hegemony. Alzheimers-focused companies like AC Immune could be the next invaders: with the number of patients set to triple by 2050 and no winning therapy as of yet, any successful drug will be a multi-billion euro blockbuster.

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Figure 1. Amyloid beta plaques are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's Disease.

Figure 1. Amyloid beta plaques are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease.

AC Immune hopes to sell its 4.5 million shares at €10 to €11.50 a pop, bringing the company’s value to €622M ($700M – so that’s where that number comes from). This far outdoes its French competitor, Pharnext, which is currently valued at  €126M after a successful IPO of €30M. AC Immune’s valuation approaches that of another company in the Alzheimer’s space, Bermuda-based Axovant, which is currently valued at an impressive €1.4B after a stunning peak at €3B in June 2015. 

The Swiss biotech is already well-positioned with €39M in its pocket from the last round of fundraising in addition to its support from German billionaire, Dietmar Hopp, and Roche, to whom AC Immune licensed its leading candidate, crenezumab. This product is a monoclonal antibody therapy targeting amyloid beta plaques in the brain, and it is currently in Phase III clinical trials. With the funds from the IPO, AC Immune will go on to develop other treatments for Alzheimer’s.

Update: AC Immune has off-loaded 6 million shares for €9.80 each, hitting their IPO target of €52.5M.


Featured Image: vitstudio/shutterstock.com
Figure 1: Juan Gaertner/shutterstock.com

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