Destiny Pharma to float on London's AIM

Drug development company Destiny Pharma is aiming to raise more than £10m by floating on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) next month. The business expects US sales alone to top £1 billion for its breakthrough drug XF-73, a preventative treatment for Staphylococcus aureus (SA) infections commonly found in hospitals, including the infamous MRSA 'superbug'.

The business is raising funds to cover its costs as XF-73 goes through its next phase of clinical trials in patients, to assess efficacy, effectiveness and safety. It will initially target the US market, where the most recent clinical trial was government-funded, but has ambitions to take the drug to Europe and Asia.

Many SA bacteria are resistant to traditional antibiotics, and there are an estimated 19,000 deaths in the US each year caused by drug-resistant infections. Hospitalised patients are particularly at risk of surgical wounds becoming infected if they carry SA.

"The rise of anti-microbial resistance [AMR] is recognised globally as a major issue that urgently needs addressing," said chief executive Neil Clark. "Our XF drug platform offers a novel way of tackling this."

Lord O'Neill's 2016 report predicts that if AMR is not addressed, it will cause more global deaths by 2050 than cancer and diabetes combined, at an annual cost of $100 trillion.

Destiny Pharma will become only the second biotech company to float on AIM this year. It has market exclusivity on the XF-73 drug into the 2030s and has already successfully completed five Phase I and IIa clinical trials in the US, with more than 90 patents granted on intellectual property relating to the XF drug platform. The company has been chaired since 2011 by ex-Heathrow airport and Boots boss Sir Nigel Rudd, as it prepared for the final stages of bringing XF-73 towards the market.

This will mark the second time in the history of the Sussex Innovation Centre that a member business has floated on the London Stock Exchange whilst still a tenant. In November 2000, DNA analysis reagent manufacturer Genpak merged and floated with Genetix Group plc.