Principia BioPharma turns to public funding to propel new drug into the market

An increasing number of healthcare startups are getting on board with one of the latest trends to hit the industry – going public to finance and further develop novel therapeutics.

Following the footsteps of Entasis Therapeutics, Principia BioPharma goes public and intends to push the company’s BTK inhibitor, which is currently in phase 2 trials, into phase 3, by using money raised through and IPO.

The BTK inhibitor is supposed to help treat the autoimmune skin disease pemphigus, while also being developed for a bleeding disorder, the immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).

Filing for IPOs to finance their ongoing research is a healthcare trend for many biopharma companies and this did not go unnoticed. Renaissance Capital states that 151 companies have filed for an IPO this year, almost 44 percent more compared to the similar period of 2017 – 49 of those companies operate in healthcare, the most compared to any other area.

Principia BioPharma says they are challenging the premise of oral drug design. Their proprietary Tailored Covalency platform is used to create therapies that are going to work faster although they are to be administered orally. The company believes that their platform enables them to purpose-design and develop small molecule inhibitors of enzymes and receptor ligands which work as well and are as targeted as injectable biologics, while retaining the much more user friendly form of a pill.

Beyond ease-of-use, this form also reduces the potential side effects of being injected, namely the risk of further infection. How does the formula work? The molecules bind to specific targets, but don’t need much time to exit the body, after finishing their job. This means that the amount of any unwanted side effects is significantly lower. Drugs from this platform have already been proven to rapidly clear the body.

In relation to this latest funding, Principia said it wants to use the money raised in the IPO to advance PRN1008, a reversible covalent Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase (BTK) inhibitor, “to commercialization” towards patients with Immune Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) in the US. Principia also said it intends to expand its pipeline by “creating additional highly selective, oral drug candidates against important targets in immunology and oncology.”

Following this new trend, going public might pay off for Principia, as much as another popular trend in healthcare, adapting the health businesses for the digital revolution.

Overall, the health tech industry is booming and healthcare startups are turning a new leaf in attracting new funds in 2018. According to Healthcare Weekly, the top ten healthcare technology startups have received a staggering $1.7 billion dollars in funding over the last year.

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Post Author: Nanci Pru