Biotech company Toleranzia announced last night that it has decided to carry out a directed share issue to Flerie Invest and Nordic Tender, subject to approval at an extraordinary general meeting. At the same time, Flerie Invest’s founder Thomas Eldered is proposed for election to the company’s board. The issue is expected to raise up to approximately 42 MSEK, which will be used to accelerate the development of Toleranzia’s main candidate TOL2 – a potential new treatment for the serious nerve and muscle disease myasthenia gravis.
Thomas Eldered has a background as co-founder and long-time CEO of CDMO Recipharm, and currently heads the pharmaceutical-focused investment company Flerie Invest. Nordic Tender is wholly owned by Lars Molinder, who has extensive experience from the capital market in senior positions in healthcare investment banking.
BioStock contacted Toleranzia’s CEO, Dr Charlotte Fribert, to find out more about what the directed share issue and the new ownership structure mean for the company.
What is the goal of your pharmaceutical projects?
– Our drug candidates have the potential to become curative treatments for a range of serious autoimmune diseases that can currently only be treated with symptom-modifying drugs. When you suffer from an autoimmune disease, it’s because your body’s immune system is mistakenly attacking substances in your own body. Using our technology platform, we develop drugs that teach the body to stop attacking these substances, the body simply starts tolerating them again.
– Although much work remains to be done before these drugs are approved, the data we have generated so far suggests that these could be revolutionary treatments that will make a big difference to many seriously ill patients.
What’s your view on Flerie Invest’s interest in taking a position as a new main shareholder in the company?
– Both Flerie Invest and Nordic Tender have extensive experience in evaluating and supporting life science companies and have proven to be very successful in prior investments. Flerie Invest’s ambition to enter as a new major shareholder in Toleranzia represents a clear validation of the commercial potential and scientific quality of our projects. The fact that Flerie Invest, through Thomas Eldered, also wants to get involved in the board of directors gives us the opportunity to further strengthen our expertise in company building and drug development. In addition, a more balanced ownership structure with a good mix of large and small investors will create a better stability for the future.
How will you use the capital injection?
– We have always had an ambitious plan to conduct the first clinical trial of our most advanced drug candidate TOL2, which is being developed to offer patients with myasthenia gravis a potentially curative treatment. With a strengthened financial position, we will be able to design the study in a way that will shorten the development time and provide us with an even stronger data base to support the design of the final registrational trial.
What are the next important milestones in the company’s development?
– As soon as the manufacturing of our drug substance is completed, a preclinical toxicology study of TOL2 will start. Assuming favourable results, we can then start the first clinical trial.
– At the same time, we continue to make progress in the development of TOL3, where the next step is to achieve preclinical proof-of-concept. TOL3 is the company’s drug candidate for ANCA vasculitis, a rare autoimmune disease in which patients are at risk of severe organ damage due to severe inflammation of the blood vessels.
Finally, how far do you intend to push the projects before you start discussing partnerships and licensing agreements?
-Dialogues with potential partners are already an important part of our ongoing business development work, as it generates early interest in our drug development projects and gives us valuable knowledge of the potential partners’ requirements. As out-licensing discussions can be very lengthy before an agreement is reached, it is important to initiate them well in advance. With more long-term and well-funded owners, we will have a greater degree of freedom in how far we can take the projects on our own, and a better negotiating position when we decide to initiate contract discussions.
The content of BioStock’s news and analyses is independent but the work of BioStock is to a certain degree financed by life science companies. The above article concerns a company from which BioStock has received financing.