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Verastem raises cash for commercial prep
Posted on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 10:29
Shares in Verastem fell 11.1 per cent in after-hours trading on news the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company is kicking off a registered underwritten public offering worth USD 35.00 million.

In a statement released after the bell rang yesterday, the Massachusetts-based oncology-focused drug developer announced Cantor Fitzgerald is bookrunning manager for the sale and additional overallotment option.

The decision to tap the capital market for cash comes as Verastem’s shares have rallied 77.0 per cent since 9th April, from an unaffected closing price of USD 2.96 on 8th to USD 5.24 on 14th May.

At the time, the group announced that “the US Food and Administration Commission has accepted for filing with priority review a new drug application” for lead candidate duvelisib, with a target action date of 5th October.

Verastem is seeking full endorsement of this first-in-class oral dual inhibitor of phosphoinositide 3-kinase-delta and PI3K-gamma for the treatment of relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma.

The developer is also aiming to receive accelerated approval for the treatment of relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma.

Duvelisib and defactinib are the company’s most advanced candidates and are in preclinical and clinical studies as potential therapies for certain cancers, including leukaemia, lymphoma, lung, ovarian, mesothelioma, and pancreatic.

It will come as no surprise to hear proceeds will bankroll commercial preparation and launch costs, pending successful development and a favourable regulatory outcome of duvelisib.

Money will also finance continued clinical development of lead candidates and fund working capital, expenditures and other general corporate purposes, including the acquisition or in-licence of additional compounds, compounds or technology.

In 2018 to date, there have been 309 capital increases announced by companies operating in the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and life sciences sector, according to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk.

US-based targets accounted for 50 of these cash calls and, of these, five were by developers headquartered in Massachusetts.

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