OctoPlus feels the market pressure

By Katrina Megget

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Stock market, Pharmacology, Polymer

Dutch drug delivery and development company OctoPlus is withdrawing
its follow-on financing on its five-strong product portfolio in
response to the US mortgage crisis and the struggling stock market.

The move, decided by the company based on advice from banks, would see OctoPlus loosing out on up to €25m ($37m) from public offerings in the Netherlands and offerings from institutional investors outside the North European country. "The stock market has been deteriorating for a while,"​ OctoPlus spokeswoman Rianne Roukema told in-PharmaTechnologist.com. "We have met investors at road shows and they have said they would have participated in different market conditions, but currently they are exhibiting risk adverse behaviour and saying they are not wanting to invest in anything at the moment." ​ Roukema said OctoPlus was not the only company affected by the credit crunch. "There are other companies pulling their IPOs or postponing IPOs and we have seen share process going down in the second half of November,"​ she said. According to OctoPlus chief executive Joost Holthuis, the market conditions were such that is was "no longer feasible"​ to maintain financing at the level the company had envisaged. "[But] we remain fully confident that our versatile drug delivery technology allowing for multiple product candidates will enable a successful future for OctoPlus." ​ The company was currently looking into financial alternatives, "which are much less under the influence of the market"​, with the aim of moving the product pipeline forward despite the shaky market conditions, Roukema said. Details of the alternatives were not elaborated on. OctoPlus has a pipeline of five products in preclinical and clinical development. Locteron is the lead product, which is a controlled-release formulation of interferon alfa for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, being co-developed with Biolex Therapeutics, and has just completed Phase IIa trials. The company has three drug delivery technologies used for facilitating controlled-release formulations of biologically active compounds with a focus on injectables. The PolyActive​ technology forms the basis of OctoPlus' lead candidate and is a biodegradable polymeric drug delivery system for the controlled release of proteins and lipophilic small molecules. The technology represents a series of polyether ester multiblock copolymers, based on polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), which can be varied in length and composition. This flexibility can give a raft of degradation and diffusion properties, thereby controlling release rates. OctoPlus' other drug delivery technology include OctoDEX,​ a dextran-based microsphere delivery technology for proteins and particulate systems, and SynBiosys,​ a biodegradable polymeric drug delivery system for the controlled release of peptides and small molecules (in collaboration with Innocore BV). OctoPlus also provides advanced drug formulation and clinical scale manufacturing services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, with a focus on difficult to formulate active pharmaceutical ingredients.

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