ImmuPharma secures £50M financing facility for Lupuzor Phase III

21st May 2013 - 9:45 am

Facility Underwritten by Henderson Global’s Subsidary Darwin Strategic

ImmuPharma plc (LSE:IMM) (“ImmuPharma” or the “Company” or the “Group”), the specialist drug discovery and development company, is pleased to announce that it has secured a £50 million, five year Equity Financing Facility (“EFF”) with Darwin Strategic Limited (“Darwin”), a majority owned subsidiary of Henderson Global Investors’ Volantis Capital (“Henderson Volantis”) to fund ImmuPharma’s late stage Lupuzor compound.Key

Highlights:

  • £50M facility allows ImmuPharma to complete the last development stage, Phase III – of its blockbuster Lupuzor compound while continuing discussions with major pharmaceutical companies for a potential corporate deal
  • Lupuzor has a unique mechanism that modulates the immune system to correct abnormalities in Lupus
  • Key third party prestigious endorsements have recently confirmed Lupuzor’s superiority/mode of action (MOA) over conventional and recently approved drugs
    • The Centre National de la Recherche Scientfique (CNRS)
    • Amercian College of Rheumatology Annual Conference (ACR)
      Decision Resources Report
For reference, ImmuPharma entered into a corporate licensing deal with Cephalon in 2008 while in the middle of a Phase IIb study, which ImmuPharma designed, managed and funded. Cephalon paid ImmuPharma $15m before the results of the phase IIb study for the exclusive option to enter into the worldwide license. Following positive results of the ImmuPharma phase IIb study in early 2009, Cephalon exercised its option by paying a further $30m for an exclusive worldwide license. This was part of an agreement worth $500m in cash milestone payments plus royalties on product sales. Upon completion of the license agreement, Cephalon assumed all responsibilities and costs for the development and commercialisation of Lupuzor™.
In May 2011, Cephalon agreed to a takeover bid by Teva. The acquisition was finalized on October 14, 2011.  Due to a change of control provision and given the fact that Teva has a competing drug candidate for Lupus (laquinimod), based on the key provisions of the agreement between ImmuPharma and Cephalon, Immupharma requested and was granted the return of the rights for Lupuzor™.  ImmuPharma regained LupuzorTM at an exciting stage in its development.  The FDA has granted LupuzorTM approval to start Phase III with a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) and Fast Track designation.
Commenting on the announcement, Richard Warr, Chairman of ImmuPharma, said: “We are delighted to receive support from Darwin and the fund management team at Henderson Volantis. Together with our current balance sheet and continued support from our existing Institutional Shareholders, we are in a strong position to take Lupuzor, our late phase potential blockbuster treatment for Lupus through Phase 3 clinical trials.”
Dimitri F. Dimitriou, Chief Executive of ImuPharma, added: “In addition to our ongoing discussions with Pharmaceutical companies for another licensing deal such as our previous one with Cephalon, we have been exploring attractive and creative options to advance Lupuzor . We are delighted to have obtained the support and funding ability to take Lupuzor to commercialization.  This strengthening of our position creates an inflection point with both new institutional investors whose investment criteria is based on Phase III compounds and also with Pharmaceutical companies that are keen on commercialising late stage compounds.”
Anand Sambasivan, Chief Executive of Darwin Strategic said:“With Immupharma’s Lupuzor fast tracked by the FDA for pivotal Phase III trials, the Company is approaching an important inflection point.The EFF bolsters ImmuPharma’s financing security as it prepares for this next stage on Lupuzor while continuing to develop its drug pipeline.”
Further details of the Equity Finance Facility
The EFF agreement with Darwin and Henderson Volantis provides ImmuPharma with a facility of up to £50 million which (subject to certain limited restrictions) can be drawn down at any time over the next five years. The timing and floor subscription price of any draw down is always at the complete control and sole discretion of the Group. There are no penalty fees payable for not using the facility.
ImmuPharma is under no obligation to make a draw down and may make drawdowns at its discretion, up to the total value of the EFF, by way of issuing subscription notices to Darwin. Following delivery of a subscription notice, Darwin will subscribe and the Group will allot and issue to Darwin new ordinary shares in ImmuPharma (‘Ordinary Shares’).
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