Amryt Makes Nasdaq Debut to Fund Rare Disease Treatments

UK-based biopharmaceutical Amryt Pharma has listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market in a move to increase its US presence as it commercializes treatments for rare diseases such as the skin condition epidermolysis bullosa. 

The company did not raise any extra capital by releasing new shares in this debut, as is typical for most listings. But it has made a big splash, with US bond broker Cantor Fitzgerald estimating that the company share prices could rise from around €9.60 per share this week to around €40 in the long term.

Amryt is already listed on the UK AIM stock exchange and Euronext Dublin. However, CEO Joe Wiley told me that about 70% of the company’s shareholders are already based in North America. The Nasdaq listing is expected to improve the liquidity of Amryt’s shares, increase public awareness, and boost analyst and media coverage of the company.

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We focus on drug development rather than early stage-research so, unlike many biotech companies, we have revenue-generating products and are cash generative,” Wiley told me when asked why they didn’t raise any money with the listing. 

Financially, analysts say Amryt is on the verge of break even after generating a loss of €57.6M last year following the acquisition of bankrupt rival Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, which gave Amryt ownership of two FDA-approved drugs that are generating revenues in the US and Europe.

The two drugs inherited from Aegerion are widely seen as transformational for Amryt’s portfolio. The first is Myalept, which tops the list of the most expensive drugs in the US this year and is used to treat patients with lipodystrophy, or abnormal distribution of fat in the body. The second is the cholesterol treatment Lojuxta. 

In April, the company completed recruitment for a phase III trial of a candidate for treating epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic skin condition that causes painful blistering and can be life-threatening. The market for the condition is estimated at around €880M, Wiley said. Data from the trial is expected later this year. Other treatments in Amryt’s pipeline include a preclinical-stage gene therapy for a form of epidermolysis bullosa called recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa

Amryt is the second high-profile European biotech to list on the Nasdaq without undergoing a typical IPO this month. In early July, the German immuno-oncology company Immatics went public on the Nasdaq indirectly by merging with the public Houston-based company Arya Sciences in a deal valued at around €220M.

High-growth stocks like Amryt command a higher premium in the US than they do in Europe which may be why the trend is continuing,” Wiley said. “The aging global population and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have also focused attention on healthcare.”


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