“For the record, I founded ONCODESIGN SA in 1995 from scratch, and by 2022 it had grown into an internationally recognized technology company with 250 employees based in Dijon, Les Ulis and Montreal. The company’s mission was to discover effective therapies to fight cancer.
It was based on three Business Units (BUs) exploiting different technologies and the products derived from them.
The “Service” BU, the most developed of the three, exploited technologies designed to select the most effective molecules, notably in Oncology, generating sales of close to €40 million through a full service activity. This BU was sold to ELYAN, a French investment fund, for €100 million in September 2022.
The “Biotech” BU had a pipeline of therapeutic molecules from discovery to early-stage clinical development, with a number of strategic partnerships with the international pharmaceutical industry, and the “AI” Business Unit, was based on a technology which uses Artificial Intelligence to discover new therapeutic targets.
We have therefore decided to spin off the therapeutic activity based on the assets of the Biotech and AI BUs from Oncodesign SA, and successfully listed this new company on Euronext Growth in November 2022.
As a result, two independent companies have emerged : Oncodesign Services (ODS), unlisted, and Oncodesign Precision Medicine (OPM), listed on Euronext Growth.
Having been listed on Euronext Growth since 2014, Iam not a big fan of this market, which is, to say the least, very apathetic when it comes to biotechs.
It is followed by a small financial environment (analysts, bankers, investors) with little knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry, what drug development is and the length of its value-creation cycle. Gradually, technology companies will move away from Europe and list in the US and Asia, which is something I don’t want to do, as geographical anchoring is one of my core values.
However, it was the only solution opened to us, both to take Oncodesign off the market, through the ELYAN buyout, and not to cut the shareholders from a possible gain, particularly individual shareholders, who were present for the strategic assets incorporated in OPM. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this ambitious and virtuous operation, but it demonstrates there can be some success in France in this area, which benefits the shareholders.
A lot has happened in OPM since our kick-off in September 2022, thanks to the hard work of our teams.
Here are the highlights:
- Servier’s decision to start the clinical trial of our drug candidate against the LRRK2 target in healthy volunteers (Parkinson’s disease), and therefore to pay us the €7 million license option milestone.
- the announcement of the “Start Pancreas” research partnership, also between Servier and OPM. The aim of this early-stage collaborative research contract is to discover new therapeutic targets for treating pancreatic cancers. This contract is vital for OPM, as it validates a pharmaceutical company’s interest in our Oncosniper AI technology and will enable us to continue our development in collaboration with Servier’s teams.
- last but not least, OPM-101 entered clinical trials in healthy volunteers last February.
This compound has an ideal safety profile and attractive pharmacodynamic properties in humans. It holds great promise for the treatment of ulcerative colitis, on a new target which makes it the first potential small molecule orally active immunomodulator in this field. The RIPK2 target also appears to be involved in many other therapeutic fields and indications, and the development of its followers and other back ups also holds out great hope for Oncology.
I almost forgot our IPO at the end of 2022 (the last successful biotech IPO in France) and the raising of €8 million (75% guaranteed by the management, I personally hold 50.8% of the capital) for a valuation of €13 million on listing on “Euronext Growth”, which has risen to €37 million to date, with a breakeven balance sheet for 2022.
Our current efforts are focused on the development of OPM-101, which is our spearhead.
Other approaches are in gestation, with oncology as a target.
In October, we raised €6 million in loans from our traditional banks, which is a very rare event, as they are not normally inclined to finance innovation.
Against this backdrop of constant need to prepare for the future, we have scheduled a fund-raising round for early 2024, so that we can start Phase 2 of ODS 101 without wasting any time and stay ahead of the game. Faced with the staggering vacuum in which the stock market currently finds itself, OPM has powerful assets, the fruit of its mature technologies, and together we’re going to make OPM Europe’s leading Biopharma specialized in Precision Medicine”.