Poolbeg Pharma IPO: Open Orphan spin out raises £25 million on floatation


  • Poolbeg Pharma, a spin out of the Open Orphan, raised £25 million in its initial public offering.
  • The company intends to use the funds for clinical trials in the drug development of severe influenza and other diseases.
  • Poolbeg also intends to collaborate with pharmaceutical companies for mid-stage pharma products licenses.

Poolbeg Pharma Plc (LON: POLB), a clinical-stage infectious disease pharmaceutical company and a spin out of the Open Orphan plc (LON: ORPH), commenced trading on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) market. It managed to raise £25 million in its initial public offer (IPO), higher than the previously anticipated £20 million. Poolbeg’s IPO has come at a critical time in the post-pandemic era due to the robust growth in the infectious disease pharmaceuticals market, which is poised to reach $250 billion by the end of 2025. 

Poolbeg Pharma, a company engaged in developing treatments for infectious diseases, managed an increase in IPO raise from the initial value of £25 million despite some investor scale back. The company intends to use the funds for clinical trial costs associated with drug development of severe influenza and other diseases and conduct work on advancing other portfolio assets to monetisation. The company announced that funds raised from the IPO could be used to develop six key assets to the sales stages.

The public funding has been pivotal in conducting clinical trials for its advanced pipeline therapy for severe influenza, as well as providing a strong platform to execute the company’s long-term growth plans. Additionally, with the company’s experienced management team and acquisition of assets from Open Orphan, Poolbeg aims to improve its shareholder base and develop innovative solutions for the treatment of infectious diseases.

Cathal Friel, the Chairman of Poolbeg Pharma and Open Orphan’s CEO, will continue to be the main shareholder of Poolbeg. However, his existing 12.6% stake will be reduced to 7.3% due to the share sale, while the number of shares will increase to 36.4 million from the initial 31.4 million.

Post its successful listing on the AIM, Poolbeg’s key drug asset - POLB 00, is slated for Phase II clinical trials, which can be later licenced to larger pharmaceutical companies. The company’s portfolio also encompasses PredictViral™ Biomarker platform that can be developed for the early detection of severe disease as well as the Vaccine Discovery Platform that leverages human challenge model data. In the coming years, with newer product in-licensing and acquisitions, the firm aims to become a completely integrated mid-stage pharma product developer, which can be later licensed or acquired by bigger pharma players. 

Post the successful IPO, Poolbeg also voiced the probability of engaging in other acquisitions as well as developing other infectious disease assets. Poolbeg’s capital-light model has also been applauded by investors.

While existing shareholders of Open Orphan will receive direct shares in Poolbeg, currently holding 51% of the total stock. Poolbeg’s shares were priced at GBX 10.25, at 11.32 AM on 19 July 2021.

Open Orphan Plc shares, however, were down by 3.53 per cent at GBX 23.25 at 11.32 AM on 19 July 2021, holding a market cap of GBP 161.68 million.