First Healthcare Industry Security Token Issuance Planned by Agenus
The Biotech Electronic Security Token (BEST) aims to fund drug development through increased liquidity while offering value to investors.
Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN), a biotech developer with a pipeline of immunology and oncology formulations, aims to launch the first healthcare-based security token, the company announced. Through the first digital asset in the sector, Biotech Electronic Security Token (BEST), investors can be exposed to the risk of a single biotech project, while preserving shareholder equity, the company explained.
"Today, by announcing the first of its kind asset backed digital security offering in healthcare, we open the doors for a transformative financing vehicle," said Garo Armen, CEO of Agenus.
"We believe this unique structure will pave the way for allowing targeted investment by qualified investors in the development of therapeutic products. This instrument, powered by blockchain technology, enables us to revolutionize the financing of drug development."
The BEST token will be backed by one of the pipeline projects of Agenus, named AGEN2034. The security token will give access to the future sales of the immunology drug, which is currently in pivotal preliminary tests. The security token will be eligible for redemptions after the first commercial sales of the drug begin.
The sale of the BEST security token will be open for eligible buyers, with the company aiming to raise $100 million. The funds raised would go toward accelerating the procedure, tests, and developments of the AGEN2034 drug.
Agenus believes the pharmaceutical industry will resort to this kind of funding to increase liquidity and speed up the otherwise slow and capital-intensive project of new drug research, development, testing, and marketing for applications.
The move of Agenus, a public company, into the security token space, is yet another sign that the trend is slowly picking up. So far, only pre-approved, large-scale investors may be eligible, including accredited investors in the USA. While tokens backed by real estate, precious metals or company stock are common, being backed by future revenues from a newly developed drug is a new, interesting concept.
However, security tokens are seeing a limited secondary market, as exchanges are just beginning to appear, including tZero and Open Finance Network in the USA, DESICO and Extauri in Europe, with some intentions to launch security token trading in Southeast Asia.