ImmunoPrecise Antibodies Ltd (CVE:IPA) is on a mission, and if recent newsflow is anything to go by, making headway.
Today, the biotech group revealed it had brought in $9.1mln via an oversubscribed placing, to be used to expand operations and sales in the United States, Canada and Europe.
What does it do?
In a basic nutshell, the company provides custom antibody development and production services and protein Expression for drugs R&D (research and development).
The aim is to produce these therapeutically relevant antibodies, in a shorter period of time, with the highest probability of succeeding to clinical trials.
Its customers are pharma and biotech companies as well as non-profit research; so universities, medical charities and grant-funded collaborations.
Where is it based?
The company operates from a state-of-the-art laboratory at the Vancouver Island Technology Park in Victoria, British Columbia, which house its tissue culture and B-cell screening facilities, as well as an animal care unit.
It has subsidiary operations at U-Protein Express B.V., in the Life Science Incubator, Utrecht, and ModiQuest Research, Oss, both in the Netherlands.
IPA wants to emulate the success of Invitrogen, which became Life Technologies before being taken over by Thermo Fisher for US$13.6bn.
Invitrogen’s bedrock business was selling kits for molecular cloning, but a series of well-judged acquisitions transformed it into the go-to supplier to the biotechnology industry.
IPA, which has been around for 25 years but only listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange in 2016, is at the start of a similar journey.
Services in demand
Its services are in high demand, given the changes in the multi-billion dollar drugs business over the last decade.
There has been a shift from the screening of traditional small-molecule chemical pharmaceuticals to bespoke biologicals, many of which are monoclonal antibodies (MABs) designed to safely and effectively tackle cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and even psoriasis.
In the US, insurers have shown a willingness to pay for the treatments, which tend to be quite expensive, while patients are demanding best-in-class biologicals that are highly targeted for grievous diseases and generally less toxic.
In February this year, scientist Dr Jennifer Bath was named as the group's new president and chief executive.
Her experience encompasses global sales in the therapeutic antibody discovery market.
The appointment came a month after IPA bought a 10% stake in a private California-based Single Cell Technology Inc, which has pioneered and patented a new approach to antibody discovery.
Then in March, it bought Dutch biotech Modiquest Research, which followed its acquisition of Dutch contract research organisation (CRO) U-Protein a year earlier.
The latter offers fast and large-scale production of (mammalian) recombinant proteins and antibodies for research and pre-clinical applications, while ModiQuest specialises in the generation of monoclonal antibodies.
These two European acquisitions added state-of-the-art laboratories, licences, intellectual property (IP), and strong customer relationships, the firm said last month, as it posted results for fiscal 2018, and their revenue growth will be reflected in the first quarter results for 2019.
Record revenue in fiscal 2018
The two firms helped IPA post record revenue for the year to end April, with revenue coming in at around C$5.4 million versus around C$2.6mln for 2017 - a 107% increase.
The net loss narrowed to C$5.1mln in the year, against a loss of C$5.3mln in 2017,
Recently the firm revealed it was also to partner with Harbour Antibodies on its mouse platform (Harbour Mice) to offer an industry-leading antibody discovery solution, adding another string to the bow.
"Leveraging IPA's global scale, we are able to massively accelerate the company's vision of bringing a single, unified contract research organization (CRO) to pharmaceutical and biotech companies internationally," Bath has said.
"Immunoprecise's infrastructure for comprehensive antibody discovery services and global reach enables us to help ensure customer success no matter where they are located in the world."