Institutions back Australian company with $50m raise

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Australian biotechnology company Opthea (ASX:OPT) has announced it has received commitments from sophisticated and institutional investors to raise $50 million via a private placement.

The placement follows the recent reporting of outcomes from the company's Phase 2b clinical study in which OPT-302, in combination with Novartis' LUCENTIS (ranibizumab), demonstrated statistically significant and superior gains in visual acuity compared to ranibizumab monotherapy.

The company said the proceeds will be used to fund further activities to support the late-stage clinical development of OPT-302 as a therapy for wet Age-related Macular Degeneration.

The activities include the manufacture of sufficient quantities of clinical-grade OPT-302 for Phase 3 clinical development and the commencement of two concurrent Phase 3 pivotal registrational trials in wet AMD patients.

“This institutional placement of A$50m at this time strengthens Opthea’s cash position as we explore a number of strategic development opportunities, and enables the Company to fund its operations into the first half of calendar year 2021. The completion of this placement will allow Opthea to expeditiously progress our Phase 3 clinical development program with OPT-302,” said Dr Megan Baldwin, CEO and Managing Director of Opthea.