Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. has sold $191.7-million in a public offering of shares just more than a week after it reported positive late-stage trial results for a lupus drug that sent its stock soaring.
The Victoria-based biotech developer, whose shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, announced early Monday that it is planning to sell US$150-million of stock to fund pre-commercialization and launch activities for its drug voclosporin, plus up to US$22.5-million more to its underwriters. The company revealed last week that late-stage human trials had shown the drug improved kidney health in patients with lupus nephritis (LN) – a condition affecting victims of the autoimmune disease lupus that can cause kidney failure and disease – at nearly twice the rate of those who didn’t take it. The stock nearly doubled on the news.
As this week progressed, Aurinia upped its expected take, pricing the offering for 12.78 million shares at US$15 a share, less than a 3-per-cent discount to its close last week. Lead underwriters Jefferies LLC and SVB Leerink LLC and co-managers H.C. Wainwright & Co. LLC, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., and Bloom Burton Securities Inc. fully exercised their option to buy shares. Despite the impending flood of new shares, the stock traded up this week, closing Thursday at US$18.25 on Nasdaq.
With the positive results, Aurinia became the latest in a string of Canadian biotech developers to reach US$1-billion valuations – and one of only a handful of stand-alone Canadian companies to deliver positive late-stage human trial results in recent years. The company believes it can get regulatory approval to sell the drug in 2021. It would be the first approved treatment for LN.
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