2019's sec­ond uni­corn Gos­samer rais­es $276M in up­sized IPO of­fer­ing, MP­M's Har­poon makes its Nas­daq de­but with $75.6M boun­ty

Meet 2019’s newest biotech uni­corn — Gos­samer Bio — which is mak­ing its de­but on Nas­daq Fri­day with an up­sized $276 mil­lion of­fer­ing.

The drug de­vel­op­er — with a val­u­a­tion of $1 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Re­nais­sance Cap­i­tal — is run by for­mer Re­cep­tos ex­ec­u­tives, and fol­lows the year’s first uni­corn Alec­tor $ALEC that raised $176 mil­lion at a $19 mid­point price. In­vestors are ea­ger­ly an­tic­i­pat­ing the per­for­mance of both, with an eye on oth­er IPO’s wait­ing in line, af­ter a tur­bu­lent De­cem­ber rav­aged stocks across the board, in­clud­ing Mod­er­na $MR­NA that saw a third of its colos­sus $7.5 bil­lion val­u­a­tion evap­o­rate soon af­ter its keen­ly watched mar­ket de­but.


Gos­samer post­ed its prospec­tus one day be­fore the US shut­down be­gan, and had its plans stymied by the par­a­lyzed SEC through­out the pro­longed or­deal. Re­fus­ing to let a lit­tle thing like that de­rail its plans, the com­pa­ny said it would use a rarely used path to forge ahead: Em­ploy­ing a fixed price and fore­go­ing the typ­i­cal­ly lengthy SEC re­view of their prospec­tus to green light the list­ing in fa­vor of en­abling their reg­is­tra­tion by lock­ing in their IPO price (at $16) 20 days be­fore mak­ing a mar­ket de­but. The move was short lived how­ev­er, as two days af­ter an­nounc­ing its strat­e­gy, the shut­down came to an end, and Gos­samer de­cid­ed to re­vert to its orig­i­nal route, but asked the SEC for an ac­cel­er­at­ed re­view.

“I think what was im­por­tant for us was that we con­tin­ue to stay on our op­er­a­tional plan, in terms of be­ing able to raise fi­nanc­ing” to fund Gos­samer’s clin­i­cal pro­grams, CEO Sheila Gu­jrathi told End­points News, when asked about the com­pa­ny’s ur­gency to at­tain a pub­lic list­ing.

The IPO funds raised by Gos­samer have eclipsed ex­pec­ta­tions, as the San Diego-based com­pa­ny was orig­i­nal­ly ex­pect­ing to sell rough­ly $14.4 mil­lion shares at $16 per share gen­er­at­ing $230 mil­lion in gross pro­ceeds. But it looks like in­vestors liked what they saw, and the com­pa­ny has now sold $17.25 mil­lion shares at the same price point, bring­ing in a $276 mil­lion boun­ty. It will be­gin trad­ing un­der the sym­bol $GOSS to­day.

Pre­ced­ing the IPO, the biotech had raised $330 mil­lion in two rounds of fund­ing. Al­to­geth­er, the com­pa­ny now has enough cap­i­tal to fund it well in­to 2021, Gu­jrathi said.

Fa­heem Has­nain on stage at the End­points News / Pharm­Cube #BI­IS18 sum­mit in Shang­hai, Oc­to­ber 2018End­points News

Click on the im­age to see the full-sized ver­sion


The com­pa­ny, orig­i­nal­ly named FSG Bio, was found­ed by for­mer Re­cep­tos CMO Gu­jrathi and Fa­heem Has­nain, the ex-Re­cep­tos CEO, in 2015, short­ly af­ter Re­cep­tos was ac­quired by Cel­gene. Af­ter the Re­cep­tos buy­out, “it was a pret­ty im­me­di­ate de­ci­sion” to form an­oth­er com­pa­ny, Gu­jrathi said. Cur­rent­ly 14 se­nior ex­ec­u­tives and di­rec­tors to­geth­er hold near­ly 33% of Gos­samer, whose two biggest share­hold­ers are ARCH Ven­ture Part­ners with 17.5% and Omega Fund V with 15.1%.

The biotech is fo­cused on im­munol­o­gy, in­flam­ma­tion and on­col­o­gy, has three drugs in the clin­ic, and an­oth­er in pre­clin­i­cal test­ing. Its lead ex­per­i­men­tal drug, GB001, is cur­rent­ly in a mid-stage study in asth­ma pa­tients that com­menced last Oc­to­ber. An in­ter­im analy­sis is ex­pect­ed in 2020, with the full dataset lat­er in the year, Gu­jrathi said.

Patrick Baeuer­le

An­oth­er IPO that priced on Fri­day is that of on­col­o­gy com­pa­ny Har­poon Ther­a­peu­tics, which has raised $75.6 mil­lion in gross pro­ceeds via the sale of 5.4 mil­lion shares at $14 per share. Months af­ter rais­ing $70 mil­lion in a ven­ture round, the im­munother­a­py de­vel­op­er (which has an al­liance in place with Ab­b­Vie and was cre­at­ed in part by MPM part­ner Patrick Baeuer­le) filed for an IPO last De­cem­ber. The biotech has de­vel­oped T cell en­gager tech­nol­o­gy called Tri­TAC that is de­signed to sur­pass the ini­tial gen­er­a­tion of BiTE’s, with a longer half-life and sta­bil­i­ty to im­prove ef­fi­ca­cy and safe­ty. 

The San Fran­cis­co-based com­pa­ny will al­so trade on the Nas­daq un­der the sym­bol $HARP to­day.

John Hood [file photo]

UP­DATE: Cel­gene and the sci­en­tist who cham­pi­oned fe­dra­tinib's rise from Sanofi's R&D grave­yard win FDA OK

Six years after Sanofi gave it up for dead, the FDA has approved the myelofibrosis drug fedratinib, now owned by Celgene.

The drug will be sold as Inrebic, and will soon land in the portfolio at Bristol-Myers Squibb, which is finalizing a deal to acquire Celgene.

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UP­DAT­ED: AveX­is sci­en­tif­ic founder was axed — and No­var­tis names a new CSO in wake of an ethics scan­dal

Now at the center of a storm of controversy over its decision to keep its knowledge of manipulated data hidden from regulators during an FDA review, Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan has found a longtime veteran in the ranks to head the scientific work underway at AveXis, where the incident occurred. And the scientific founder has hit the exit.

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Ab­b­Vie gets its FDA OK for JAK in­hibitor upadac­i­tinib, but don’t look for this one to hit ex­ecs’ lofty ex­pec­ta­tions

Another big drug approval came through on Friday afternoon as the FDA OK’d AbbVie’s upadacitinib — an oral JAK1 inhibitor that is hitting the rheumatoid arthritis market with a black box warning of serious malignancies, infections and thrombosis reflecting fears associated with the class.

It will be sold as Rinvoq — at a wholesale price of $59,000 a year — and will likely soon face competition from a drug that AbbVie once controlled, and spurned. Reuters reports that a 4-week supply of Humira, by comparison, is $5,174, adding up to about $67,000 a year.

The top 10 fran­chise drugs in bio­phar­ma his­to­ry will earn a to­tal of $1.4T (tril­lion) by 2024 — what does that tell us?

Just in case you were looking for more evidence of just how important Amgen’s patent win on Enbrel is for the company and its investors, EvaluatePharma has come up with a forward-looking consensus estimate on what the list of top 10 drugs will look like in 2024.

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UP­DAT­ED: Sci­en­tist-CEO ac­cused of im­prop­er­ly us­ing con­fi­den­tial in­fo from uni­corn Alec­tor

The executive team at Alector $ALEC has a bone to pick with scientific co-founder Asa Abeliovich. Their latest quarterly rundown has this brief note buried inside:

On June 18, 2019, we initiated a confidential arbitration proceeding against Dr. Asa Abeliovich, our former consulting co-founder, related to alleged breaches of his consulting agreement and the improper use of our confidential information that he learned during the course of rendering services to us as our consulting Chief Scientific Officer/Chief Innovation Officer. We are in the early stage of this arbitration proceeding and are unable to assess or provide any assurances regarding its possible outcome.

There’s no explicit word in the filing on what kind of confidential info was involved, but the proceeding got started 2 days ahead of Abeliovich’s IPO.

Abeliovich, formerly a tenured associate professor at Columbia, is a top scientist in the field of neurodegeneration, which is where Alector is targeted. More recently, he’s also helped start up Prevail Therapeutics as the CEO, which raised $125 million in an IPO. And there he’s planning on working on new gene therapies that target genetically defined subpopulations of Parkinson’s disease. Followup programs target Gaucher disease, frontotemporal dementia and synucleinopathies.

But this time Abeliovich is the CEO rather than a founding scientist. And some of their pipeline overlaps with Alector’s.

Abeliovich and Prevail, though, aren’t taking this one lying down.

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Chi­na has be­come a CEO-lev­el pri­or­i­ty for multi­na­tion­al phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies: the trend and the im­pli­ca­tions

After a “hot” period of rapid growth between 2009 and 2012, and a relatively “cooler” period of slower growth from 2013 to 2015, China has once again become a top-of-mind priority for the CEOs of most large, multinational pharmaceutical companies.

At the International Pharma Forum, hosted in March in Beijing by the R&D Based Pharmaceutical Association Committee (RDPAC) and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), no fewer than seven CEOs of major multinational pharmaceutical firms participated, including GSK, Eli Lilly, LEO Pharma, Merck KGaA, Pfizer, Sanofi and UCB. A few days earlier, the CEOs of several other large multinationals attended the China Development Forum, an annual business forum hosted by the research arm of China’s State Council. It’s hard to imagine any other country, except the US, having such drawing power at CEO level.

As dis­as­ter struck, Ab­b­Vie’s Rick Gon­za­lez swooped in on Al­ler­gan with an of­fer Brent Saun­ders couldn’t say no to

Early March was a no good, awful, terrible time for Allergan CEO Brent Saunders. His big lead drug had imploded in a Phase III disaster and activists were after his hide — or at least his chairman’s title — as the stock price continued a steady droop that had eviscerated share value for investors.

But it was a perfect time for AbbVie CEO Rick Gonzalez to pick up the phone and ask Saunders if he’d like to consider a “strategic” deal.

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As­traZeneca's jug­ger­naut PARP play­er Lyn­parza scoops up an­oth­er dom­i­nant win in PhI­II as the FDA adds a 'break­through' for Calquence

AstraZeneca’s oncology R&D group under José Baselga keeps churning out hits.

Wednesday morning the pharma giant and their partners at Merck parted the curtains on a successful readout for their Phase III PAOLA-1 study, demonstrating statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival for women with ovarian cancer in a first-line maintenance setting who added their PARP Lynparza to Avastin. This is their second late-stage success in ovarian cancer, which will help stave off rivals like GSK.

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ICER blasts FDA, PTC and Sarep­ta for high prices on DMD drugs Em­flaza, Ex­ondys 51

ICER has some strong words for PTC, Sarepta and the FDA as the US drug price watchdog concludes that as currently priced, their respective new treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy are decidedly not cost-effective.

The final report — which cements the conclusions of a draft issued in May — incorporates the opinion of a panel of 17 experts ICER convened in a public meeting last month. It also based its analysis of Emflaza (deflazacort) and Exondys 51 (eteplirsen) on updated annual costs of $81,400 and over $1 million, respectively, after citing “incorrect” lower numbers in the initial calculations.