Pharmaceutical firm 89bio files for $70 million IPO

Herzliya- and San Francisco-based company with ties to medical giant Teva developing drug to treat NASH, a severe liver disease

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

Illustrative image of a research lab. (Motortion; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative image of a research lab. (Motortion; iStock by Getty Images)

Israeli biopharmaceutical firm 89bio has filed an initial registration statement for a $70 million IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company, which focuses on drugs to treat liver and cardio-metabolic diseases, filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday. Its proposed trading symbol is ETNB.

With the IPO the company is looking to fund development of a drug called BIO89-100, which aims to treat non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe liver disease. It also hopes to apply the drug to other diseases, including severe hypertriglyceridemia (SHTG).

89bio is affiliated with Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva, which provided 89bio with most of the know-how related to their lead product, and kept certain rights. 89bio paid Teva $6 million as part of an April 2018 agreement and pledged to pay up to $135 million to Teva if the drug proves successful.

COO Ram Waisbourd previously worked in a senior role advancing Teva’s research and development strategy.

The company’s current investors include OrbiMed, Longitude Capital, RA Capital and Pontifax, according to the prospectus it filed.

89bio operates out of Herzliya in central Israel and San Francisco, California, employing 14 people, mostly in research and development.

Its CEO and director is Rohan Palekar, who was previously the president and CEO of Avanir Pharmaceuticals and served in senior positions at Johnson & Johnson.

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