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Biotech firm 4D Pharma secures £21.7million credit facility

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Biotechnology firm 4D Pharma has secured a $30million (£21.4m) credit boost from specialist life sciences lender, Oxford Finance.

The company, which does much of its drug research and development (R&D) in Aberdeen at the Foresterhill campus, said the cash would help “advance” programmes to bring its live biotherapeutics to market.

Live biotherapeutics are so called because they are based on the use of live micro-organisms.

4D Pharma has number of candidates using live biotherapeutics in various trial stages in the pipeline, including treatments for asthma, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and pancreatic cancer.

Microbiome in human gut

Duncan Peyton, 4D Pharma chief executive, said: “The credit facility from Oxford Finance provides access to additional capital strengthening our financial position and increasing our financial flexibility as we continue to advance our programmes to bring first-in-class live biotherapeutics to market.

“The initial $12.5 million (£8.9m) tranche of this financing extends our cash runway into Q4 2022, with multiple clinical catalysts throughout 2021 and 2022.”

The AIM-listed firm will receive the cash in three portions. The initial £8.9m and the remaining £5.3m and £7.1 on achievement of certain milestones.

Christopher A. Herr, Oxford Finance senior managing director, said: “4D pharma have made remarkable progress in advancing their portfolio of novel drug candidates across multiple therapeutic areas, demonstrating their leadership in the microbiome field.

4D pharma have made remarkable progress in advancing their portfolio of novel drug candidates across multiple therapeutic areas, demonstrating their leadership in the microbiome field.”

Christopher A. Herr, Oxford finance senior managing director

“Oxford Finance is pleased to support 4D pharma as it continues to progress its pipeline of innovative live biotherapeutics.”

Spac and Nasdaq

4D Pharma, whose head office is in Leeds, is also a pioneer in expanding its funding opportunities in the US through use of a “spac”.

The company was an early UK adopter of a recent investment trend which involves merging with a “special purpose acquisition company” (spac) in the US.

It achieved a listing on the technology-friendly Nasdaq stock exchange in New York in March when it merged with the listed spac, Longevity Acquisition

4D Pharma initially grew out of GT Biologics, a spinout of Aberdeen University’s Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.

The firm’s London-listed shares closed 3% higher to 87.4p.

Earlier in the week, the company paid tribute to its chief financial officer, John Beck, who had passed away. The US-based executive had only just joined the firm at the start of the year.

Mr Peyton said: “We are deeply saddened by John’s passing. The entire 4D Pharma community mourns this loss and, on behalf of our board of directors and employees, we extend our sincerest condolences to his family.

“John’s 30 years of experience in the financial and biopharmaceutical industries were invaluable to us in his role as chief financial officer, and his vision for the future of 4D Pharma was already well on its way to being realized. We grieve this loss and will carry his legacy forward in this next chapter of 4D Pharma continued growth and progress.”

The company said it will  “continue to be actively led by its current management team and board of directors and succession planning is underway”.

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