May 16, 2018
Bioscience Notebook

Bioasis eyeing NASDAQ after raising $2.2M

Photo | Contributed
Photo | Contributed
Bioasis' Guilford office.
Photo | Contributed
Bioasis CEO Mark Day.

A Canadian biotech startup that recently opened its first U.S. office in Guilford said it has raised nearly $2.2 million in equity and expects to begin trading on the NASDAQ by the end of this year.

Bioasis Technologies Inc. is in the early stages of research on ways to treat brain cancer and other neurological diseases by delivering medicines past the brain's filtering mechanism, known as the blood-brain barrier.

The barrier poses a major treatment challenge, often making drugs that work elsewhere in the body ineffective on tumors in the brain.

The company, which has four full-time employees and 10 consultants working in its Guilford office at 14 Water St., has developed a proprietary technology to transport drugs across the barrier.

"We are delighted to announce this enabling financing, which addresses our near-term working capital requirements and provides us with additional capital to move forward with the continued advancement of our pipeline," CEO Mark Day, a neuroscientist and former Purdue Pharma and Alexion executive, said in a statement Monday.

He said the funding will support research and development, clinical development, manufacturing and other activities.

Headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia, Bioasis currently trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "BTI" and on the OTCQB under the symbol "BIOAF."

Day said the company intends to list its common shares on the NASDAQ Capital Market during the second half of 2018, pending regulatory approval.

In other news, New Haven's Biohaven Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Branford's BioXcel Therapeutics Inc. both reported 2018 first quarter earnings this week.

For the quarter ended March 31, Biohaven reported a net loss of $85.5 million, or $2.32 a share, compared to $22.8 million, or $1.74 a share for the same period last year.

The company pointed to rising research and development costs as it increased clinical trials for its cutting-edge migraine drug, rimegepant, for which it plans to seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval next year.

R&D expenses for the quarter were $75.6 million, up from $10.7 million for the same period in 2017.

The increase includes a $50 million upfront payment to Bristol-Myers Squibb to restructure its licensing agreement with the pharma giant for rimegepant and another migraine drug Biohaven is developing.

Cash as of March 31, 2018 was $104.2 million, compared to $131.5 million at the end of 2017, the company said.

Meanwhile, BioXcel reported a net loss of $4.3 million for the first quarter, compared to $500,000 for the same period in 2017, as it ramped up R&D.

The company, which raised $60 million in an Initial Public Offering in March, said it had $55.5 million in cash as of March 31.

R&D costs were $2.9 million for the first three months of 2018, compared to $300,000 for the same period last year.

The company attributed much of the increase to a $1 million payment to parent company BioXcel Corp. in connection with the IPO.

BioXcel Therapeutics uses artificial intelligence to discover new drugs and repurpose older ones. It is currently working on treatments for Alzheimer's and advanced pancreatic cancer.

Natalie Missakian can be reached at news@newhavenbiz.com

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