UCL Technology Fund investment MeiraGTx raises $75m at IPO

UCL Technology Fund investment MeiraGTx Holdings plc (‘MeiraGTx’), the clinical stage gene therapy company, has raised $75million at IPO, pricing five million shares at $15.00 per share on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on June 12 2018.

The UCL Technology Fund (UCLTF) is managed by Albion Capital in collaboration with UCL Business (UCLB), UCL’s commercialisation company, and is dedicated to bringing UCL’s world-class research in life and physical sciences to commercial reality. MeiraGTx is its first investment to IPO. MeiraGTx has strong roots in UCL; its rare eye diseases business was borne out of the laboratories of Professor Robin Ali, a human molecular genetics expert at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, a world leader in ocular gene therapy.

MeiraGTx was founded in the UK in 2015 in a deal which combined the assets and expertise of Kadmon Corporation, a US specialty pharmaceutical company and UCLB spinout Athena Vision. Athena Vision was created by UCLB, who owned the rights and options to Professor Robin Ali’s ophthalmic gene therapy programs. MeiraGTx is developing gene therapies for diseases of the eye, salivary gland and central nervous system. Its expertise in viral vector design and optimisation, advanced gene therapy manufacturing, and technology providing temporal control of gene treatments, is transforming the gene therapy landscape.

The company, based in London and New York, has four ongoing clinical programmes, one compassionate use programme and a broad pipeline of preclinical and research programs. The funds raised from its flotation will enable it to progress its treatments for inherited rare eye diseases, xerostomia (‘dry mouth’) and neurodegenerative diseases.

The UCL Technology Fund first supported MeiraGTx as part of a $50m Series B investment round in 2017 to fund the continuation of its clinical trials.

Christoph Ruedig, partner at Albion Capital, says: “MeiraGTx is revolutionising the treatment of ocular, nerve and salivary gland diseases with highly specialised, flexible gene therapies which have the potential to dramatically decrease morbidity and improve quality of life.“We are impressed by the way the company combines cutting-edge science, a nimble platform and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes to deliver life-changing gene treatments. We look forward to supporting the business’s ongoing development through the next stage of its journey as a public company.”

Cengiz Tarhan, Managing Director at UCLB, says: “We are proud to have been there at the beginning, through the creation of Athena Vision, to support the commericalisation of the world-leading gene therapy work of UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, seeing how that work has grown and developed so impressively over the years at MeiraGTx. We are pleased to be able to continue to work and invest in them through the UCL Technology Fund.