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VBL Therapeutics raises $40 million in revived Nasdaq IPO

After the fiasco of the failed IPO in August, the drug development company scaled down the offering.


VBL Therapeutics has raised $40 million at a company value of $120 million in a revived IPO on Nasdaq. In August, the Israeli company, which develops drugs for treating cancer and respiratory illnesses, had raised $65 million on Nasdaq at a company value of $222 million. However, the IPO turned into a fiasco when a principal US investor did not come through with the money, and the company had to cancel the offering and delist five days later.

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This time around VBL sold 6, 666, 667 ordinary shares at $6 per share, before underwriting discounts and commissions. On its first day of trading on Nasdaq yesterday, the share price fell 2.5% to $5.85. The share is trading under the VBLT ticker.

Deutsche Bank Securities acted as book-running manager for the offering and JMP Securities and Oppenheimer were co-managers.

The IPO in August was canceled because one investor, US venture capital fund Keffi Group, headed by founder Jide Zeitlin, did not deliver its money at the closing. The official statement said that the fund had liquidity problems caused by the withdrawal of money deposited with it between the pricing and the closing.

It seems that matters are now sorted. Keffi already owned 24% of VBL before the IPO and Zeitlin remains a director on the board. Keffi now plans buying shares worth $24.3 million, about 60% of the offering, and the same book-runners and co-managers remain on board.

VBL Therapeutics, founded by CEO Prof. Dror Harats, must now adapt its development plans to the lower sum raised. The company’s drug for treating brain tumors will enter Phase III clinical trials in the first half of 2015, and the funds raised will suffice until the intermediary results in 2016. Good results will enable the company to raise more money. Meanwhile, until further funds can be found, a clinical trial for an immune-inflammatory disease treatment has been put on hold as have plans to build a production plant.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news –



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