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Amphion Innovations lines up FireStar for 2019 IPO

Another of Amphion’s investee companies, Polarean Imaging, was floated on AIM earlier this year, and FireStar is the next one earmarked to go public
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Motif Bio’s share price falls weighed on Amphion’s half-year results

Biotech investment group Amphion Innovations Plc (LON:AMP) is readying its FireStar Software partner company for an initial public offering, possibly as early as next year.

Firestar’s technology platform allows real-time data from clinical trials that sponsors want to see as soon as possible.

Cost-saving tech

The cost of developing a drug is huge and Amphion believes Firestar’s tech can save companies time and money by getting better data in front of the key decision makers at the earliest possible moment.

“We are now beginning to focus our efforts to develop FireStar and its product platform with the goal of an IPO for the company in 2019,” said chief executive Richard Morgan.

Amphion holds an 11.9% stake in Firestar but hinted that it would look to increase that in the coming months.

“Ahead of any IPO, Amphion's ownership is typically in the 30% - 50% range and we are confident that our FireStar holding will reflect that by the time we complete the expected equity financing rounds,” read Friday’s half-year report.

READ: Motif Bio waiting on FDA approval of iclaprim

In those results, Amphion recorded a loss before tax of US$5.9mln (H1 17: profit of US$1.7mln) in the six months to June 30, while net asset value decreased to -US$8.7mln (H1 17: -US$2.8mln).

The movements are “almost entirely” due to the fall in value of the Motif Bio Plc (LON:MTFB), which Amphion has an 8.5% stake in.

Motif filed a new drug application (NDA) with US regulators for its next-generation antibiotic iclaprim in June and a final decision is expected by mid-February.

The drug developer raised another US$10mln from investors back in May which placed “a lot of pressure” on Motif’s valuation, as evidenced by the 15% share price fall in the year-to-date.

Amphion is still a big fan though and believe the potential value of Motif and iclaprim is yet to be fully appreciated by the market.

Polarean joined AIM

Polarean Imaging PLC (LON:POLX) was perhaps the highlight, having joined AIM in the first half of the year. It was the only life sciences group to join the junior market in that time.

Amphion poured another US$600,000 as part of the float and its stake currently stands at 21.7%.

Last month, Polarean enrolled the first patient in a phase III trial of its drug-device platform which can be added to existing MRI systems to achieve an improved level of lung function imaging.

“We are very excited by the promise of this technology to address a huge unmet medical need and we believe the value of our investment should, in due course, be substantially higher than it is today.”

Amphion also has investments in WellGen, DataTern and Axcess.

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