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Exclusive: Jacksonville's fastest-growing company commits to stay, eyes public offering

Wednesday, February 28, 2018   (0 Comments)
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Exclusive: Jacksonville's fastest-growing company commits to stay, eyes public offering


By Will Robinson  – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

Feb 28, 2018, 11:06am EST Updated Feb 28, 2018, 11:08am EST

Espero BioPharma, Jacksonville's fastest-growing company, has committed to staying while it eyes a public offering, chairman and CEO Quang Pham told the Business Journal.

"Our headquarters are staying here," said Pham, who noted that the company had reached an agreement with a clinical trial partner in Jacksonville.

Espero is in the midst of raising $70 million for a clinical trial of Tecarfarin, the company's blood-thinning drug. Pham called Tecarfarin "the next blockbuster drug" and believes it can displace Warfarin as the leader of the $10 billion industry for blood-thinning drugs. The 1,000-patient study, which Pham hopes to begin in the second quarter of 2018, is the drug's "last remaining pivotal study." Once completed, it would allow Espero to seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug administration in 2020.

"Our number one goal is to raise $70 million to complete the Tecarfarin trial," said Pham.

To better position the company to raise funds, Pham had publicly floated the idea of moving to California or Massachusetts, where biopharmaceutical investors were more plentiful. The company already has an office in Irvine, California.

"There are no incentives here, no talent here and no investors here," Pham previously told the Business Journal, noting that Florida is not among the top 25 states in terms of biotech investment. "I personally would like to see the company stay here, but I need to make the best decision for my investors."

Espero is staying because of its clinical partnership in Jacksonville and because of the roots it has grown since its founding here in 2014, Pham said. Espero grew 4,883 percent in its first three years on the First Coast.

While the company is still looking into its financing options, which include a public offering, private equity and more, Espero is likely to file an S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the next 90 to 180 days, the first step in going public.

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