Biotech firm plans Aussie IPO

Koligo Therapeutics, a regenerative medicine company with a product to treat pancreatitis already on sale in the US, is set to list on the Australian market.

The biotech said it was the only company in the world dedicated to the wide distribution of pancreatic islets — the cells that make insulin to regulate blood sugar — for treating pancreatitis.

Koligo works with partner hospitals to remove a patient’s diseased pancreas and conduct an islet auto-transplantation — known as a TP-IAT procedure.

A patient’s pancreas is sent to Koligo, which isolates the islets from the pancreas and forms them into a product called Kyslecel.

That product is then returned to the hospital and infused into the patient’s liver, where the islets are expected to function and produce the insulin needed to regulate blood sugar.

Dr Bala, chief of manufacturing at Koligo, said more than nine in 10 patients had improved pain relief after the TP-IAT procedure. He said pancreatitis was an inflammation of the pancreas that altered the organ’s normal structure, worsened over time and led to permanent damage.

“There are no pharmacological, endoscopic, or surgical options for treatment and up to 80 per cent of patients are on high doses of potent opioids to manage the pain,” he said.

“Nearly one in five of these patients become addicted.”

Dr Bala assisted on a TP-IAT procedure on an Australian boy in 2015. The patient was only seven at the time but had lived most of his life suffering debilitating pain.

“When we saw how he recovered — his quality of life — it reminded us of why we’re doing this — it really does make a difference,” Dr Bala said.

Koligo, based in Louisville, Kentucky, plans to list on the Australian market at the end of this month at 20c a share.

The aim is to raise up to $7 million from the initial public offering, with the market value post listing expected to be about $22m.

Unlike most biotechs headed for a market listing, it is already generating revenue. Kyslecel is qualified for sale in the US, which has resulted in about $1.6m of sales at a few pilot hospitals in the first 14 months. Post market listing the company plans to initially tap into the estimated $300m addressable market in the US.

Koligo is also developing a pipeline of regenerative medicine products based on its patented 3D-V technology platform. It believes its 3D-V technology platform will transform human cell and tissue transplants.

“We can use a bio printer to print cells and tissues for implant,” Koligo chief executive Matthew Lehman said.

“As we continue development of that technology we will bring out additional products to treat things like continuing pancreatitis, type one diabetes … disease orders that would benefit from the ability to retransplant cells and tissue.”

Reporter:            SARAH-JANE TASKER

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12:00AM MARCH 7, 2019