AFT Pharmaceuticals, the Auckland-based drugs developer and reseller, wants to list in Australia and New Zealand, raising funds to speed up the development of products to sell in other countries.
The company is considering an initial public offering on the NZX and ASX, hiring First NZ Capital as sole lead manager, it said in a statement, without indicating how much money it wants to raise. The funds raised will go towards completing clinical product development and introducing those drugs into foreign markets, and also expanding AFT’s sales team in Australia.
“Raising new capital is really about taking this business to the next level and advancing our portfolio of innovative development products,” chief executive and majority shareholder Harley Atkinson said. “In terms of product development, regulatory approvals, licensing and distribution, we’ve developed a good track record.”
Earlier this month, The Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk column reported AFT had embarked on informal investor briefings, and put a value on the company of between $200 million and $300 million, which Atkinson later denied.
In May, Auckland-based AFT raised US$14 million in a capital raising with Houston, Texas-based Capital Royalty taking a 7.58 percent and Milford Asset Management’s active growth fund buying 3.03 percent. Atkinson has said that price better reflects the likely valuation of the company.
Later that month the company announced it had raised US$7.5 million in follow-on equity from Capital Royalty, the Atkinson family, AFT board members, and a group of specialist pharmaceutical investors from the US. Capital Royalty now holds 9 percent while Atkinson family interests retain almost 87 percent.
Earlier this month Atkinson said the company would likely seek about $30 million to fund expanding overseas and bringing more products to market, including a pipeline of eight drug candidates in various stages of development.
AFT was established by Atkinson in his garage in 1997 with $50,000 in start-up capital after he was made redundant from Roche. It is targeting sales of $80 million this year, up from about $65 million in 2014.
Its best-known product in New Zealand is the heavily promoted pain-killer Maxigesic, which was launched in 2009 and combines paracetamol and ibuprofen in what the company claims is a world-first medicine. The medicine has been approved and licensed in a number of European countries.