Alzheimer's drug firm here eyes Nasdaq IPO

A Singapore medical company focused on developing treatments for Alzheimer's disease is holding exploratory discussions with a small number of investment banks with a view to listing on the Nasdaq.

TauRx Pharmaceuticals has invited banks to pitch for a mandate to advise it on a potential listing after results come in from late-stage clinical trials, likely to be later this year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The company, which counts Temasek Holdings and casino operator Genting among its shareholders, is looking to list as early as next year, in a deal that could value the company at about US$15 billion (S$21 billion).

A spokesman for TauRx said talks have focused primarily on identifying likely options available to the group, one of which could be an initial public offering (IPO) next year. He added that no decision would be made until the results of its Alzheimer's drug trials were available.

The search for a treatment for Alzheimer's has been elusive. The disease eats away at brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behaviour, which steadily worsen over time.

Between 2002 and 2012, 99.6 per cent of clinical trials of drugs aimed at curing and preventing the memory-robbing disorder have failed or have been discontinued, according to a study by scientists from the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Centre for Brain Health and the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine.

TauRx, which was founded in 2002, specialises in developing therapies and diagnostics for neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system.

Its researchers are working on cutting down the clumping of a protein called tau, which forms twisted fibres known as tangles inside the brain cells of Alzheimer's patients.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2016, with the headline 'Alzheimer's drug firm here eyes Nasdaq IPO'. Print Edition | Subscribe