Poolbeg Pharma eyes growth after £366,000 share sale

28 Apr 2022

Poolbeg Pharma CEO Jeremy Skillington. Image: Poolbeg Pharma

Poolbeg, which is a spin-out of Irish pharma services company Open Orphan, hopes it can now attract additional new shareholders including specialist life science investors.

Infectious disease specialist Poolbeg Pharma confirmed the sale of £366,000 of shares to new investors.

Poolbeg announced earlier this month that new investors had offered to purchase up to £1.6m ‘distribution in specie’ shares at a price of £0.059 each.

The pharma company confirmed yesterday (27 April) that the proposal was accepted by current shareholders seeking to sell a total of £366,000 of Poolbeg shares. This represents 3pc of the distribution in specie shares and the other 97pc has been retained by existing shareholders.

“We are delighted to see that the vast majority of distribution in specie shareholders have decided to remain invested in Poolbeg,” said Poolbeg chair Cathal Friel.

“This demonstrates the very strong confidence among these shareholders in the company, which has made significant progress since its IPO and has multiple value inflection points expected in 2022 and beyond.”

A spin-out of Irish pharma services company Open Orphan, London-headquartered Poolbeg is a pharma company that focuses on clinical-stage infectious diseases and aims to find faster and more cost-effective treatments than conventional models.

Poolbeg said it ended 2021 with a “strong cash balance” of £20.9m.

It added that it was not raising new funds as part of the £1.6m share proposal, which means there will be no dilution to existing shareholders from the £366,000 sale to new investors.

The distribution in specie shares had been held by Croft Nominees Limited on behalf of the shareholders who received these shares as a result of Poolbeg spinning out from Open Orphan last year. These shares were ‘locked up’ until 20 April, meaning they could not be sold or redeemed.

“Going forward, following the end of the lock-up period, we now expect substantially increased liquidity in Poolbeg shares which we believe will help us to attract additional new shareholders, including specialist life science investors, as we continue to deliver on our strategy in order to maximise shareholder value over the long-term,” Friel said.

Last month, the spin-out announced a partnership with Israel’s CytoReason to use AI models to analyse patient data and find new treatments for influenza. The company will use AI models developed by CytoReason to analyse large amounts of data from influenza human challenge trials conducted by Poolbeg.

In February, Poolbeg also landed a deal with US company OneThree Biotech to use its AI technology to accelerate the treatment of severe respiratory infection cause by respiratory syncytial virus.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic