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Dec 30, 2011

AMT Raises €2.5M but Says Future Still Hangs in the Balance

  • Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics (AMT) raised €2.5 million in new equity through a €0.34 per share private placement with three of its existing shareholders, Forbion Capital Partners, Gilde Healthcare Partners, and Advent Venture Partners. The new funds represent a bit of breathing space for the gene therapy firm but haven’t solved its potentially terminal financial problems.

    AMT announced on December 15 that it was in a negative equity position and was looking at a range of options for the future, including selling all or part of the business, raising funds through backers and investors, securing nondilutive grants, or establishing new collaborations. At that time the firm had also stated that it might be possible to seal a partnership deal for its hemophilia B program during the first half of 2012, provided that additional funding could be secured in the interim.

    AMT is in addition looking at potential collaborations with academic groups to contribute toward the short-term funding of its GDNF program for up to three indications. Even so, having already cut its workforce by 50%, the firm stated that additional cost-cutting measures wouldn’t impact positively enough to make a difference but would potentially have a detrimental effect on ongoing R&D programs. Moreover, as AMT now states, the €2.5 million financing just announced won’t solve its negative equity position.

    The firm’s lead candidate, Glybera®, was developed as a therapy for lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPLD) and first filed for approval in the EU during 2009. However, despite being batted back and forth between the European regulator’s Committee for Advanced Therapies (CAT), an independent scientific advisory group, and the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), Glybera has failed to gain market approval.

    As part of the appeal process earlier this year, the SAG, the CAT, and two new CHMP rapporteurs concluded in favor of approving Glybera, but this collection of opinions failed to sway the CHMP, which again voted narrowly against granting Glybera marketing authorization in October.

    As a result, AMT announced in October that it would focus its development efforts and financial resources on its three gene therapy programs targeting hemophilia B, Parkinson disease, and acute intermittent porphyria. It would also continue to participate in the SanfilippoB program, which is fully funded by a consortium led by Institut Pasteur. However, further investment in and development of Glybera and the Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy program has been suspended.



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