Poolbeg Pharma plc (LON:POLB, OTCQB: POLBF), a clinical stage infectious disease pharmaceutical company with a unique capital light clinical model, announced this week that a number of new investors have expressed interest in acquiring up to £1.6m of Poolbeg Pharma plc shares which are currently locked-up and held in trust by Croft Nominees Limited as a result of the distribution in specie from Open Orphan plc (LON:ORPH) on 18 June 2021.
Cathal Friel, Chairman at Poolbeg Pharma told DirectorsTalk Interviews: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that despite the presently turbulent market when biotech’s are not the flavour of the month, a number of new investors have expressed interest in purchasing shares from the distribution in specie shareholders which were awarded as part of the demerger from Open Orphan plc last summer. As part of these proposals, the New Investors have committed to purchase up to £1.6m of the currently locked-up distribution in specie shares on or around 26 April 2022 at the full market price of 5.9 pence per share (the closing market price on Friday 8 April 2022).
Coming mainly from high-net-worth family offices, with the largest individual investor being an experienced life science investor, our new investors have shown great interest in the Poolbeg story, our significant progress since IPO, and our capabilities in developing novel infectious disease products utilising our unique cost-effective model. This is a clear vote of confidence in the Company’s prospects as it enters an extremely exciting phase of its development with its first human challenge clinical trial due to commence in June 2022 with multiple value inflection points expected in 2022 and beyond.
Poolbeg ended 2021 well capitalised with a strong cash balance of £20.9m so it is important to note that the Company is not raising any new funds as part of this process and, as such, there will be no dilution of existing shareholders. Poolbeg’s model enhances investor returns as the out-licensing revenues will be reinvested into the pipeline of additional assets which in turn, can be further monetised rapidly and as such, substantially extending the runway from the original £25m raised at IPO. Thus, we have no intention to go back out to the market to raise funds. Poolbeg’s model allows for multiple opportunities for monetisation through our broad portfolio significantly reducing spend and risk compared to the conventional biotech model which is often high risk, low reward. Poolbeg is following a similar model to Evotec plc, which has seen its share price rise 10x since it began building its product portfolio, Evotec has similar roots in clinical trials to Poolbeg. One of reasons we adopted model is because one of Open Orphan’s non execs and Poolbeg’s scientific advisory board member Dr Elaine Sullivan is also on the supervisory board at Evotec and helped to guide us in our development of the Company’s model.
This arrangement has followed significant efforts from the Poolbeg team to help widen our investor base, increase future liquidity, and maximise shareholder value over the long-term. Due to the nature of the lock-up period, which was designed to allow for an orderly market following our admission to AIM, prospective investors looking to build more substantial stakes were unable to do so. These proposals ensure that any potential shares sold will be going to quality, long-term holders, whilst giving distribution in specie shareholders the option to sell shares prior to the end of the lock-up period, if they choose to do so. In addition, there will be substantially greater liquidity in our shares once the distribution in specie shares have been distributed after 26 April 2022 and we believe this will certainly help us to attract in even more new shareholders.”