Gut Feeling: Bowel Disease Drugmaker Abivax Uplists from Paris to Nasdaq

Gut Feeling: Bowel Disease Drugmaker Abivax Uplists from Paris to Nasdaq


Investors with an appetite for bowel disease biotech have a new European deal to digest. 

French biotech firm Abivax S.A. is commencing a transatlantic uplisting from Euronext Paris to the Nasdaq. 

On Monday, October 15, the firm kicked off its roadshow for its planned debut. It will float under the ticker “ABVX,” while staging a concurrent private offering elsewhere in Europe.

On Wednesday, October 18, the company, which develops therapeutics for chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, topped up its offering to 20.33 million American Depositary Share (ADS) shares with an F-1/A filing. The offering’s estimated proceeds remain at $250.06 million. The proposed price range will be $11.60 to $13.00 per share. 

Abivax’s lead drug candidate, obefazimod, treats severe cases of ulcerative colitis (“UC”). Obefazimod is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials. The firm is planning a Phase 2a clinical trial to test how obefazimod may be used to treat patients with Crohn’s disease (“CD”), too. 

The company says last year, almost 3 million patients across the United States, EU4 (France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, the United Kingdom, and Japan suffered from the kinds of bowel diseases it treats. 

Feeling for a Pulse

New offerings have recovered somewhat this year after 2022’s historic collapse. Yet, if the broader IPO market is still a bit under the weather, biotech deals have been chronically ill.

In the first half of 2023, only nine biotech companies have gone public, making it the slowest IPO year for the industry in at least six years, per BioPharma Dive data. In a sign of the cautious times, David Diamond of business consulting firm CBIZ MHM recently told industry publication BioSpace that investors are now looking for data from Phase II or later-stage studies to ensure they invest only in firms with effective assets.

Sick Man of Europe?

More broadly, European IPOs this year have been at their lowest since 2008

The Planisware, which was billed to be France’s largest IPO in two years, at €300 million, was abruptly canceled on fears “extremely cautious” investors would let the float flop. Germany’s military hardware maker Renk Group has also postponed a €350 million deal. Meanwhile, German toll payments provider DKV Mobility is also reported to be delaying its launch.

Financial Times columnist Craig Cohen likens Europe’s IPO market to a sad, stiff cadaver that requires ever-greater shocks of electro-stimulation: “A lifeless IPO market is periodically revived, only for the unsettling realization that — except for world-class companies with scale and profile — it’s still largely kaput.”

With bourses across the continent starved of new sizable deals, it’s no wonder Abivex is heading ‘across the pond’ to dive into the deep capital pools only found in the U.S.A.

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