UK Biotech Sector Sees Investment Gains in 2018

James Ahern

James “Jimmy” Ahern is the managing partner of Laidlaw & Company UK Ltd. in New York City. In his role at Laidlaw, James (Jim) Ahern advises public and private companies that are making investments in health care industries, specifically biotech and life sciences.

The UK biotech sector experienced significant growth in investment funding in 2018, with 2.2 billion pounds injected into the sector – one billion pounds more than in 2017 – indicating a strong appetite for UK biotech innovation, according to the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA). The majority of the financing occurred in private markets with only five biotech companies going public in 2018.

This low IPO activity saw AIM, London’s junior investment market, lag behind the United States NASDAQ in drug discovery companies. BIA attributed 2018’s subdued biotech industry IPO activity to poor market conditions and several failed late-stage clinical trials.

Also in 2018, the UK biotech industry recorded increased funding from US-based investment firms. This was attributed to growing foreign interest in life science areas in which the UK is particularly strong, including genomics and cell therapy.

Therapix Biosciences – Synthetic Cannabinoids-Focused Startup


Therapix Biosciences pic

Therapix Biosciences

An experienced New York executive, James Ahern engages with Laidlaw & Company as its managing partner and head of capital markets. In his role as an investment banker, James “Jimmy” Ahern focuses on the healthcare market, with invested companies including PhaseRx and Gemphire.

In March of 2017, Jimmy Ahern and his colleagues served as the sole book runner, or main underwriter, in guiding a common stock initial public offering for Therapix Biosciences that raised $13.8 million in capital participation. Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, Therapix Biosciences has developed dronabinol as a way of repurposing FDA-approved synthetic cannabinoids for therapeutic purposes involving new indications.

Current internal programs of Therapix Biosciences include a Phase 1 study of THX-ULD01, or BrainBright Pharma, in treating mild cognitive impairment, and a Phase 2b trial of THX-TS01, or Joint Pharma, for patients with Tourette’s syndrome.