Guided nuclear missile for cancer: Telix prepares for Nasdaq IPO

Innovation

Flushed with recent success, Melbourne-based, ASX-listed Telix Pharmaceuticals is looking to jointly list in the US to capitalise on its strong American base.
Telix
Telix Pharmaceuticals CEO Christian Behrenbruch. | Image: Supplied

Telix, the Melbourne-founded radiopharma company, hopes to raise about US$200 million through the listing.

The majority of its employees and customers are in the US and 90% of its projected 2024 revenue of US$450 million to US$465 million comes from the US.

Telix has doubled in value in the seven months since Forbes Australia featured the company in its December issue, in which CEO and founder Christian Behrenbruch declared a goal to be as big as CSL and complained that Australian investors were not as savvy as their US counterparts when it came to biotech.

The share price has risen $2.50 in the past week to more than $18. It’s initial price offer when it floated in 2017 was 65c. Melbourne-based Canadian-born Behrenbruch owns 7% of the company and German-based co-founder Andreas Kluge owns slightly less.

Telix

Telix has been on a steady upward trajectory since it released its latest quarterly revenue numbers in April – up 18% over the previous quarter to US$114.9 million.

This financial year, the company expects to make between US$445 million and US$465 million – representing an approximate 35%-40% increase over 2023. Almost all its income comes from a prostate cancer diagnostic tool, Illuccix, but it has also filed applications for kidney and brain cancer diagnostics. It is using the revenue from the diagnositc tools to fund development of treatments for the various cancers.

Illuccix uses molecules that are attracted to prostate cancer cells. The molecules are loaded with a dose of radioactive material. The molecules then seek out the prostate cancer wherever it is in the body, illuminating the tumour in imaging machines.

A therapeutic version still undergoing trials would carry a larger dose of radioactive material, thereby taking radiation therapy direct to the cancerous cells. A stage-III trial of that product, which is estimated to be potentially 30 times more profitable than the diagnostic tool, is currently recruiting patients.

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Results of the phase-II trial were released at the end of May showing promising results. Nuclear oncologist Nat Lenzo described it as a “compelling signal of the potential efficacy” of the prostate treatment.

Telix announced on December 7, 2023 that the drug it has trialed in renal cancer, Girentuximab, had also gone through a successful phase-II trial in 12 women with metastatic breast cancer. The principal investigator, Dr. Caroline Rousseau at the Institut de Cancérologie de l’Ouest (ICO) in France, said Girentuximab had “exhibited potential utility in this most aggressive form of breast cancer, which is often metastatic and drug-resistant, with limited therapeutic options.”

Telix said in a June 5 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that its objective was to “pharmaceuticalize” the field of radiation oncology – replacing current external-beam radiation with an injection that delivered radiation directly to a tumor.

“We believe that therapeutic and diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals can become a fundamental pillar of cancer care that may deliver transformative survival and quality of life outcomes for patients, building upon recent practice-changing advances in immuno-oncology, targeted oncology and antibody-drug conjugates,” Telix said in its US SEC filing.

Telix said it planned to use up to $130 million of the proceeds of the Nasdaq launch to advance the development of its therapeutic products. Another $45 million would go toward expanding the label of its prostate agent Illuccix. An additional $30 million more of the IPO proceeds would support the build out of Telix’s global supply chain and manufacturing capabilities.

Investment banks Jefferies, Morgan Stanley, Truist Securities and William Blair are acting as joint book-running managers for the Telix IPO.

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