Drug developer Cennerv makes second bid to list on Catalist


SINGAPORE-based biotech Cennerv Pharmaceuticals is making a second attempt at an initial public offering (IPO) on the Singapore Exchange's Catalist board, with the lodging of another preliminary offer document on Wednesday. Details of the pricing, amount to be raised, and timing of the offer have yet to be announced.

The firm, which develops drugs to treat central nervous system disorders, first registered a preliminary offer document for a planned listing in September last year. Asked why this was subsequently withdrawn, the company said: "Due to adverse market conditions in the last quarter of 2018, the company decided not to proceed with a listing in 2018."

Cennerv's products treat disorders such as insomnia, dementia, schizophrenia and autism. Its two leading products are classified as Phase 2 candidates, one to treat insomnia and the other to regulate mood, cognition and behaviour.

Phase 2 is the second stage for clinical trials that test whether the drug is effective for the problem it is meant to treat. The firm's other three main products are still in the pre-clinical phase.

Cennerv is focused on developing these five products and has yet to monetise any of them. As a result, it has not generated any revenue in the past three financial years or the first nine months of 2018. It reported losses of between S$1.6 million and S$1.7 million for its financial year from 2015 to 2017.

For the nine months ended Sept 30, 2018, Cennerv's net loss widened by 48.2 per cent to S$1.84 million, versus a net loss of S$1.24 million in the same period in 2017. This came on the back of an increase in employee compensation arising from consultancy expenses and the payment of professional fees for the listing application, the company said.

Other operating expenses more than doubled from S$264,974 in the nine months of 2017 to S$787,462 in the corresponding period in 2018. This was mainly attributable to the payment of professional fees for the listing application and an increase in office administrative costs and overheads, Cennerv added.

According to the company's offer document, listing-related expenses accounted for about S$536,000 of its professional fees for the nine-month period in 2018, up from about S$108,000 in 2017.

Looking ahead, Cennerv plans to develop and monetise its key drug products, identify additional applications for them, acquire more drugs and expand its business through investments, acquisitions and joint ventures.

Proceeds from its offering will be used to acquire a 60 per cent stake in US drug developer Gemeni Therapeutics and further develop its products, while the rest will be used for working capital. PrimePartners Corporate Finance is the sponsor, issue manager and placement agent for the IPO.