The IPO flood keeps rising with 4 more biotechs and a SPAC on their way to Nasdaq

After a record year for biotech IPOs in 2020, forecasts were bullish on another strong year showing for public offerings — and 2021 hasn’t disappointed so far. Now, a clutch of four biotechs chasing rare disease and cancer and a New York SPAC are ready to join the party…

Three more companies filed to head to Nasdaq on Tuesday, as well as a SPAC, with an additional Dutch biotech filing Friday. All in all, early days indicate another big year, at least to start, with 12 companies either pricing or filing their IPOs in the first 20 days of January.

Biotech still has a long way to go to reach the chart-topping 81 IPOs recorded last year and $13.5 billion raised. But here are the newest companies helping get the industry off to a hot start.

China’s Adagene looks to index new HERV-based CAR-T
A little over a week after discovering a new CAR-T candidate, the Chinese biotech Adagene is shooting to go public.

Adagene’s CAR-T for renal cell carcinoma is the first the biotech’s aware of to target a human endogenous retrovirus expressed in the majority of clear-cell kidney tumors. And on the back of more than $150 million in fundraising, including a $69 million Series D last January, Adagene is penciling in $125 million for their IPO raise.

Adagene’s candidate was developed in tandem with the NHLBI in the lab of Richard Childs, chief of the Laboratory of Transplantation Immunotherapy. The NIH is expected to take over manufacturing and clinical development.

Regardless of how much cash it ends up raising, Adagene said in its S-1 it plans to allocate 95% of funds to R&D. The company will direct 26% of funds toward its lead candidate, ADG106, a monoclonal antibody and CD137 agonist, which is currently in Phase Ib/IIa trials for advanced or metastatic solid tumors and/or relapsed/refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Another 26% of funds are slated to go toward Adagene’s other two programs, ADG116 and ADG126. Both programs seek to block the known cancer target CTLA-4, with ADG116 focusing on a “unique” epitope. The former has started a Phase I in advanced metastatic solid tumors while the latter hasn’t yet hit the clinic.

Bristol Myers Squibb, which pioneered the first and only CTLA-4 inhibitor Yervoy, also tried developing a 4-1BB agonist antibody dubbed urelumab, but hopes for a monotherapy were dashed after liver toxicities emerged.

The last 43% allocated to R&D will help fund preclinical candidates and further platform development, Adagene said. — Max Gelman

Pharvaris pencils in $100 million raise to back oral HAE approach
A couple months after nabbing $80 million in venture cash, Netherlands-based Pharvaris has penciled in a $100 million jump onto Nasdaq to back its upstart approach for the rare genetic condition hereditary angioedema (HAE).

Pharvaris’ lead program, an inhibitor and selective small-molecule bradykinin B2-receptor antagonist, is in development as an oral alternative to currently available HAE treatments — like CSL’s Haegarda and Takeda’s Cinryze, Takhzyro and Firazyr, which are all injectable.

“We designed PHA121 to improve upon the therapeutic profile of existing therapies and, through oral delivery, to provide patients with quality of life and convenience that is superior to current standard-of-care HAE treatments, which are injectables,” the F-1 states.

The biotech was founded by Berndt Modig, now CEO, and a cast of veterans from Jerini, the biotech that originally developed Firazyr. Back in November, the company released…

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