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Shares in Island Pharmaceuticals (ASX:ILA) soar following ASX debut
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  • Shares in antiviral drug developer Island Pharmaceuticals (ILA) have jumped almost 150 per cent following the completion of a $7.5 million IPO
  • The company issued 30 million shares at $0.25 each, with half of the proceeds expected to go towards the development of ISLA-101
  • Initially developed as a potential cancer drug, ISLA-101 has been repurposed to treat mosquito-borne viruses, such as dengue fever
  • With such an urgent need for treatments, Island Pharmaceuticals is potentially eligible for an FDA Priority Review Voucher for ISLA-101
  • Island Pharmaceuticals is up 145 per cent to 61.2 cents per share

Shares in antiviral drug developer Island Pharmaceuticals (ILA) have jumped almost 150 per cent following the completion of a $7.5 million IPO.

The Melbourne-based company issued 30 million shares at $0.25 each, with half of the proceeds expected to go towards the development, including a phase two clinical study of ISLA-101 — a repurposed oral drug used to treat mosquito-borne viruses, such as dengue fever.

Another $700,000 will support further research and intellectual property protection, while $455,000 will go to formulation development and $2.4 million will be used for working capital. The remaining $450,000 will cover costs associated with the IPO.

The World Health Organisation has called dengue fever the most widespread and rapidly increasing vector-borne disease in the world, affecting 390 million people annually and costing the global economy an average of US$8.9 billion (roughly A$11.7 billion) each year.

According to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control, around 40 per cent of the world's population — approximately three billion people — live in regions at risk of dengue infection.

Initially developed as a potential cancer drug, ISLA-101 has already been through 48 phase one and two clinical trials before being repurposed, and therefore offers Island Pharmaceuticals a much faster and cheaper path to commercialisation than traditional drug development routes.

According to David Foster, Managing Director of Island Pharmaceuticals, ISLA-101 has so far demonstrated promising results in treating dengue, Zika and several other viruses, and has been backed by a high-profile Global Advisory Board that includes Professor Stephen Thomas, the lead principal investigator for Pfizer's Phase 2 and 3 COVID-19 vaccine trials.

"Island is working to solve urgent viral disease threats due to mosquito-borne viruses which are currently putting half the world's population at risk," he said.

With such an urgent need for treatments, Island Pharmaceuticals is potentially eligible for an FDA Priority Review Voucher for ISLA-101 — when targeted at dengue fever, Zika virus or chikungunya virus — should the company secure New Drug Approval for any of these three diseases.

Such clearance would allow Island Pharmaceuticals to progress its new drug application up to six months faster than under the standard process.

Island Pharmaceuticals is up 145 per cent to 61.2 cents per share at 1:22 pm AEST.

ILA by the numbers
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