Sublimity Therapeutics records €43.2m in accumulated losses

Former Sigmoid Pharma forecasts more losses as it develops ulcerative colitis therapy

Dr Albert Agro, chief executive of Sublimity Therapeutics.

Dr Albert Agro, chief executive of Sublimity Therapeutics.


Irish-founded pharma company Sublimity Therapeutics, which closed a $64 million (€55 million) round in May, has said it will need to raise “significant additional financing” in the coming years to fund its ongoing research and development activities.

The company, formerly Sigmoid Pharma, reported losses of nearly €6 million last year and forecast additional losses for the foreseeable future.

Newly filed accounts for Sublimity Therapeutics Ltd, which is not yet revenue producing, show it had cumulative net losses of €43.2 million as of the end of December 2017.

The company this year closed what is thought to be the largest ever investment in an Irish pharma company at clinical development stage. The financing was co-led by OrbiMed and Longitude Capital, with participation from HBM Healthcare Investments.

Proceeds of the $64 million round are to be used to initiate a global Phase 2b dose-ranging study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a drug candidate known as ST-0529, which is for patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis.

ST-0529 (formerly called CyCol) is an orally delivered soluble formulation of cyclosporine, a safe and effective treatment indicated for several inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and Crohn’s disease.

Globally, the market for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s is considered to be worth about $4 billion (€3.75 billion) and growing strongly.

Flagship product

Founded by Ivan Coulter, who is now Sublimity’s chief technology officer, the firm won the inaugural Irish Times Innovation Awards in 2010. Established in 2003, it is now headed by Dr Albert Agro, who recently told The Irish Times the company was considering a potential flotation as it looks to get its flagship product to market within the next five to seven years.

Sublimity, which employs about 50 people at two centres in Dublin and Tullamore, recorded a net loss of €5.98 million last year, down from a loss of €9.36 million a year earlier.

“Management expects our research and development and general and administrative expenses to continue to increase substantially for the foreseeable future and, as a result, we may need additional capital to fund operations, which may be obtained though one or more private of public equity or debt financings, research grants or other sources,” the company said.

Sublimity last year signed a landmark partnership with one of the biggest players in gastrointestinal therapy Dr Falk Pharma, which saw the German business invest in the company and start to work with it to commercialise its products.

Other backers of Sublimity include Glen Dimplex founder Martin Naughton, who owns an 11.27 per cent stake in the holding company.