Appili CFO Kimberly Stephens

Appili CFO Kimberly Stephens

Appili Therapeutics Inc.’s common shares will begin trading on the main board of the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday, after spending 15 months on the TSX Venture exchange.

The Halifax-based company, which is working on bringing a portfolio of anti-infectious drugs to market, issued a statement Monday saying the change would take place at the start of trading Wednesday. By trading on the main TSX board, the company will have exposure to a broader group of investors, which should make it easier to raise capital.

Appili began trading on the TSX Venture exchange in June 2019, and has this year issued stock twice to raise a total of $27 million. On Monday, its shares closed at $1.05, giving them a one-year return of 133 percent and producing a market capitalization of $65.9 million.

 “Graduating to the premier exchange for Canadian equities is a validation of our efforts to expand awareness of Appili in the capital markets and the value of our pipeline portfolio,” said Appili CFO Kimberly Stephens in a statement. “This milestone enables access to another echelon of North American investors, and we look forward to continuing to drive value to our shareholders in our mission to develop therapies to help patients address serious unmet needs in infectious disease.”

On Friday, Appili said it is applying to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, to conduct a Phase 3 clinical study evaluating its drug candidate Favipiravir to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19 infections. The company expects to begin the trial process this autumn.

Favipiravir is a broad-spectrum antiviral that is already approved for use in Japan under the name Avigan. In 2014, Japanese health authorities told Fujifilm Toyama – Appili’s partner in the project – to stockpile it in case of a pandemic.

Region's Manufacturers Continue with PPE Projects

Chinese research dating back to February has also shown that Favipiravir has “antiviral properties against SARS-CoV-2,” the virus that causes COVID-19, in unborn babies. And in March, The Guardian reported that small-scale trials suggested the drug could decrease patients’ median recovery time from 11 days to four days.

“As the global incidence of COVID-19 cases continues to rise at alarming rates, and we learn more about the virus and patient demographics, it is clear that we will need multiple approaches to effectively quell this pandemic,” said Appili CEO Armand Balboni in Friday’s statement. “Appili has focused on the outpatient setting with the first orally available antiviral for the potential treatment of COVID-19 in adults with mild to moderate disease.”

Appili is part of a group of Nova Scotian life sciences companies increasing their presence in leading stock markets. Halifax-based Sona Nanotech, which trades on the alternative Canadian Securities Exchange, said in July it would apply for a listing on the NASDAQ stock exchange in New York.

Sona’s stock has had a wild year. Starting 2020 at 12 cents, the company announced in March it would apply its nano-technology to develop rapid diagnostic kits for diseases that include COVID-19. Its shares soared as high as $16.05 before settling, closing at $8.00 on Monday. Its current market capitalization is $440 million.