Bitcoin Firms Barred From Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Indices

Business in Brief: PolyPid raising $75 million in U.S. IPO ■ Ex-CEO’s assets seized ■ Final bounce leaves Tel Aviv with gain

A Bitcoin (virtual currency) coin is seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, June 23, 2017.
BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS

PolyPid raising $75 million in U.S. IPO

PolyPid, an Israeli company developing extended-release drugs to prevent infections during surgery, said on Wednesday it was raising $75 million in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq under the symbol POLY. The company, based in Petah Tikva, said it would be selling 3.33 million shares at a price range of $21 to $24, with insiders planning to purchase $20 million worth of shares. The midpoint of the price range values PolyPid at $370 million.  Founded in 2008, the company had accumulated losses of $92 million, $55 million of that in 2017 alone. But the company recently announced positive results from a late-stage Phase I clinical trial of its lead drug candidate D-Plex100 , which is being developed to manage bone and soft tissue infections, and is seeking approval to move to Phase II trials in the fourth quarter. Citing World Health Organization estimates, the company estimates surgical infection costs U.S. hospitals alone $10 billion annually. (Yoram Gabison

Bitcoin firms barred from TASE indices

As expected, the Israel Securities Authority on Wednesday said it would act to ban companies in the cryptocurrency business from being included in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s share indices. The decision, which will be implemented by amending the TASE’s charter, is aimed at protecting investors from indirect exposure to what it called the “risky and speculative” nature of cryptocurrencies through companies that invest in them or engage in bitcoin mining.  The shares of a handful of cryptocurrency companies led by Blockchain Mining soared last year on the TASE as bitcoin prices surged higher, but both have since collapsed. By barring the companies from being included in the  share indices, the ISA will be deterring passive investors like index funds from buying the shares and undercut demand for the stocks. The ISA, which also issued a general warning to investors about cryptocurrency investing, is planning measures against initial coin offerings in the next few days. (Guy Erez)

Ex-CEO’s assets seized

Israeli police on Wednesday seized some 30 million shekels ($8.7 million) in property, most bank accounts and real estate from Ofer Kotler, former CEO of Housing & Construction Limited amid a probe into alleged bribes paid by a subsidiary of the builder. Kotler is one of a group of current and former executives of the company, which is controlled by Shari Arison, that are alleged to have been involved in paying the bribes to officials from an unidentified African country and in other offenses. When he was arrested a month ago, Kotler’s attorneys denied all the allegations against him. The police usually act quickly to seize assets in criminal cases. In the investigation of Bezeq, they seized tens of millions of shekels of property belonging to Shaul Elovitch, the company’s controlling shareholder, and his wife Iris.  (Efrat Neuman)

Final bounce leaves Tel Aviv with gain

Tel Aviv shares ended higher as the TA-35 index bounced higher at the end of the session. The benchmark index finished 0.4% up at 1,504.95 points, while the TA-125 rose nearly 0.5% to 1,365.30, on turnover of 1.59 billion shekels ($460 million). Among the biggest gainers, SodaStream was unusually the most active share of the day and advanced 1.7% to close at 314.80 while Mazor Robotics gained 2% to 125.30. Both stocks were traded heavily by exchange-traded funds after the FTSE index underwent its twice-annual reweighting. Teva Pharmaceuticals dropped 2.8% to 62.50 amid reports about regulatory problems in launching its migraine drug fremanezumab. Rami Levy declined 2% to 200 after its namesake founder and CEO was questioned by police in connection with a Jerusalem corruption probe. Oil Refineries Limited rose 2.4% to 1.73 after it reported earning $78 million in the third quarter, up from $42 million a year earlier. Frutarom ended 2.3% up at 330.90. (Guy Erez)