Evgen Pharma, which raised £7m through its successful flotation today, is the eighth company backed by Enterprise Ventures to become listed on the stock market.
The Liverpool-based drug development company was admitted to AIM via an oversubscribed placing at price of 37 pence per share, giving it a market capitalisation of approximately £27m on admission.
The company will use the proceeds to fund a phase IIa study in metastatic breast cancer, a phase II study in subarachnoid haemorrhage which is a type of stroke, preclinical studies in multiple sclerosis and long-term safety and toxicology studies.
Evgen was founded in 2008 by Dr Stephen Franklin and is based at Liverpool Science Park. Its core technology Sulforadex® is based on sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli which is known to have anti-cancer properties.
Dr Franklin, CEO, commented: “Enterprise Ventures has supported Evgen Pharma from inception. Their approach was refreshing in that they supported me with seed capital long before the business started to take its shape. At inception, we had a blank piece of paper and we have methodically built-up, from ground zero, what we believe is a very exciting drug development business.
“They have stood by the company every step of the way through to this AIM listing. Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing people and institutions rewarded for taking risks, keeping faith and putting in the hours required”.
Dr Mark Wyatt, Investment Director with Enterprise Ventures, said: “Evgen is a good example of an entrepreneur-led business. We had backed Stephen before in a successful business so from the outset we knew the ‘people’ bit of the start-up was right, and that we had somebody we could work well with.
“There have been substantial challenges to overcome in building this business, which is true for any start-up, but everybody involved has demonstrated great tenacity in moving it forward, and the admission to AIM is a positive next step in the company’s evolution.”
Other Enterprise Ventures’ investments which are listed on the public markets are Redx Pharma, Optiobiotix Health, Premaitha Health, Science in Sport and Provexis, all of which are in the healthcare and life sciences sector; crop technology company Plant Impact (Hertfordshire) and cleaning technology business Xeros Technology Group.
Julian Viggars, Head of Technology Investments at Enterprise Ventures, said: “Our portfolios contain some of the most exciting science and technology businesses in the UK. However investing in businesses like these requires a specialist knowledge and a long-term approach, as value is not created overnight. As experienced tech investors, we have to expect that we will see setbacks on the path to commercialisation and value.
“We have nurtured these businesses from the very start, and continue to support them through their capital journey. A listing was once seen as providing an exit for venture capitalists, but we are successfully using the public markets to provide businesses with additional investment capital to continue their long-term growth. A listing is also very effective in raising a company’s profile to both a national and global audience, and in helping to attract the very top management talent.”