OKYO Pharma Management Takes Company Stock In Private Placement Instead Of Deferred Pay

Drug development can be notoriously slow, and it can take some companies 10 years or more to pass through all the trials and tests required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, when a company is bringing a drug to trial in near-record time, it’s understandable that company insiders – including the management – might feel more enthusiastic about the prospects of the drug. 

The team at biopharmaceutical company OKYO Pharma Ltd. OKYO has been signaling its enthusiasm, as it was revealed after announcing an upcoming private stock placement that senior management has deferred wages, taking stock as payment instead. Founded in 2018, the company is already surging toward its first phase 2 trial of OK-101 and hopes to have efficacy data from the trial released by the end of this year.

In the middle of March, the company announced it will make a global private placement of stock to certain investors. The placement involves two types of shares, American Depositary Shares (ADS) and Ordinary Shares. Over 3.5 million ADS shares and 8.6 million Ordinary Shares will be issued, to raise a total of $5.7 million before expenses.

The funds raised will be put directly towards moving ahead with the phase 2 trial of OK-101, planned to begin in the second quarter of 2023. This trial is designed as a double-blind placebo-controlled trial, and the company hopes to have efficacy data by the fourth quarter of this year. 

Team Commitment In Bringing Novel Treatment To Market

Along with the issuance of ADS and Ordinary Shares, Management Ordinary Shares were also issued to members of senior management, including CEO Gary Jacob, CFO Keeren Shah, CSO Raj Patil, and Non-Executive Chairman Gabriel Cerrone and others. These senior management figures, all seasoned biopharma and drug trial veterans, have been deferring wages or fees for a long period of time. Now they are taking shares as compensation for their deferred wages, in a move indicating their support of and confidence in the company’s future. 

In a recent interview, Dr. Jacob described OKYO’s team as “very lean and mean and very passionate about what we’re doing”. OKYO is able to keep its team small and experienced by working with various contract research organizations (CROs) to conduct frontline research work, including Ora Inc., a leading CRO with a specialty in ocular-based research.

The main work of this London-based drug development company is its development of a treatment for major eye diseases, like the widespread, chronic dry eye disease (DED). The treatment market for DED was worth over $5 billion in 2019, and the disease affects almost 50 million Americans. 

Other companies working on ocular and retinal diseases include Aldeyra Therapeutics ALDX, Tarsus Pharmaceuticals TARS and Ocular Therapeutix OCUL.

Want to learn more about OKYO Pharma? Visit its website.

Featured photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

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