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Ambitious life sciences group Abzena targeting 'sustainable profitability' following £25mln City fundraiser

The share placing follows a period of expansion that has seen it make two major acquisition
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Abzena has worked with 18 of the top 25 companies in the biotech and pharma space

Ambitious life sciences group Abzena plc (LON:ABZA) has unveiled plans to raise £25mln that will help accelerate the business towards “sustainable profitability”.  

The share placing follows a period of expansion that has seen it make two major acquisition since its 2014 listing that have significantly increased the company’s scale.

Such is the demand for its services Abzena has worked with 18 of the top 25 companies in the biotech and pharma space.

"This new funding will enable us to build on the group's foundations, maximising the opportunities being presented to us and accelerating progress to sustainable profitability," said Abzena chief executive John Burt.

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The cash injection will be used to upgrade and expand Abzena’s US based bio-manufacturing facilities and capabilities.

Funds will also be ploughed into existing services in America and the UK as well being used for business development.

"Our existing and prospective customers are developing novel but complex biological therapies for a wide range of diseases, from rare genetic childhood disorders to cancer,” said CEO Burt.

“Our experience and reputation as a biopharma service and technology provider continues to grow and as a result our customers' demand is currently outstripping our capacity."

Hybrid model 

The company operates a hybrid model, which means its revenues come from providing antibody research and engineering services and creating drug conjugates (targeted treatments for diseases such as cancer). It also manufactures antibodies and proteins for clinical studies.

Where Abzena applies its technology to re-engineer a partner’s product it might earn licence fees, milestone payments and even royalties if a drug makes it to the market. Where its technology is embedded, the firm calls these ‘Abzena inside’ products.

In fact a new ‘Abzena inside’ product entered phase I clinical development recently, which means it now has 12 clinical-stage products. Two of these are in phase II.

Deals

In January the firm unveiled an agreement with an unnamed San Diego biopharmaceutical company worth up to US$300mln to license out its ThioBridge technology.

It is the second major deal of this kind in the space of year for Abzena following its tie-up with NASDAQ-listed Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ:HALO), which is worth up to US$150mln in staged payments.

ThioBridge is an antibody drug conjugate linker, which, in layman’s terms, means it attaches antibodies and other proteins to drugs.

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