When Athenex, a Buffalo-based biopharmaceutical company that focuses on non-traditional cancer treatment, had its initial public offering (IPO) on June 14, it was a validation for many hard years of work and research.
The company, formerly named Kinex Pharmaceuticals, can be traced back to 2004 where it was run, in part, by former University at Buffalo Chemistry Professor David Hangauer.
Hangauer, who stepped down from his professorship at UB in September of 2013 to be named Chief Scientific Officer of Kinex, has spent much of his career focusing on developing protein-based kinase inhibitors which are believed to restrict the growth of certain cancers, according to the Athenex website.
His team also has done extensive research and clinical trials on a chemotherapy treatment in pill form that has the potential to reduce pain and have patients spend less time at the hospital. According to The Buffalo News, the pill is a combination of a popular chemotherapy drug Oraxol and a molecule created by Athenex that allows the drug to be effective in the pill form.
The Athenex team has administered trials on the pill for close to six years and is waiting to see if all of their hard work will give them the positive results they seek.
Many parties, including New York State, are hoping for great success for the chemotherapy pill. The Buffalo News reported that New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo allocated over $200 million to Athenex to build and equip a manufacturing facility in Dunkirk. The company also has many outside investors and substantial funding from its partners in China.
Athenex’s IPO closed on June 19 after having 6 million shares of stock available from $11 to $13 a share. When it is all said and done, The Buffalo News reported the company hopes to generate nearly $60 million dollars from the sale, with the majority of the funds put into further research and trials for the chemotherapy pill.