BioLineRx Ltd. on Wednesday priced the largest ever initial public offering of a biomedical company on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, raising a total of NIS 211 million, or $50m.
"The results of our IPO have proven both Israeli institutions and the public are very excited about being part of drug development in general, and specifically BioLineRx," Yuri Shoshan, vice president of finance and corporate development, told The Jerusalem Post.
The amount was well above the next three largest biomedical IPOs, Can Fite BioPharma, NasVax and TRD, which each raised $10m.
BioLineRx Chairman and Vice President Aharon Schwartz said he was certain the company "will justify this vote of confidence by advancing the development of novel therapies based on cutting-edge research generated by Israel's leading academic institutions."
BioLine offered 28.69 million shares at NIS 7.40, or $1.74 each. The shares will begin trading on the TASE on Monday under the ticker "BLRX."
In connection with the offering, the company also announced that it had changed into equity a $9m. convertible loan from Pan Atlantic Bank and Trust Limited it received last month.
The public offering was led by Clal Finance Underwriting and Leader Capital Markets, along with previous investors Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Giza Venture Capital, Pitango Venture Capital and Hadasit. Shareholders previously invested approximately $32m. in the company.
"BioLineRx was founded by leaders in Israeli drug development to take advantage of the abundance of early stage research in the country," Shoshan said. "So it's a natural fit to start out on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, which has an expanding sector in biomedical companies."
He added, however, that the company has its eye on the NASDAQ when the appropriate time comes.
BioLineRx currently has 10 drugs in pipelines, three of which are in clinical or preclinical stages in an array of medical fields. The company chooses its projects by screening academic institutions and startups, mostly in Israel, for those most likely to result as blockbuster drugs.
Currently in the works are BL1020 for the treatment of schizophrenia with minimal side effects, which successfully completed Phase 1 clinical trials and is expected to enter Phase 2 in the second quarter of this year.
BL1040 is in preclinical studies now and also was expected to enter phase 1/2 clinical trials for treating damaged tissue after cardiac arrest in the second quarter.
BL3010 is a novel treatment for acute and chronic pain, which is undergoing Phase 1/2 clinical trials.
Other drugs in the pipeline are in the fields of infectious and inflammatory disease, oncology, Parkinson's disease and obesity.
BioLineRx's drug development is partly supported by the Israeli Office of Chief Scientist through a biotechnology incubator grant.