A little-known biotech running low on cash looks to get its own $100M IPO from pandemic market
It’s been heady for biotechs breaking into a pandemic stock market: $233 million for ADC Therapeutics, $165 million for Zentalis, and $120 million for ORIC. Now a company that emerged from stealth just 8 months ago — and is now running low on cash — is trying to get in on the 9-figure game.
South San Francisco-based Applied Molecular Transport has filed for a $100 million IPO. Founded and led by longtime life sciences consultant Tahir Mahmood, the company builds oral drugs around a carrier molecule that can cross protective linings into the immune-cell heavy areas of the gut. They debuted in September, after they began dosing Phase I for their lead program, an ulcerative colitis drug that recently completed early testing in Eastern Europe.
That drug, AMT-101, is an IL-10 agonist that is designed to turn down inflammation in autoimmune disorders, including ulcerative colitis but also pouchitis and rheumatoid arthritis. The IPO, the company said, will bankroll both Phase II trials for AMT-101 that they plan to begin this year, and a Phase I trial for AMT-126, an IL-22 agonist being developed for diseases that are related to barrier function — i.e. diseases that scientists believe involve breaches in the cell lining of the gut, such as inflammatory bowel disease.
The swift IPO arose at least partly out of a sober look at their financials, with management concluding at the end of Q1 that there “was substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern” for the following year.
Applied Molecular Transport was initially founded in 2010, as Applied Molecular Transport, LLC. But in 2016, Applied Molecular Transport, LLC became a wholly owned subsidiary of a new entity — Applied Molecular Transport Inc. Since then, the company has quietly raised $105.6 million in three separate rounds: A $32.8 million Series A in 2016, a $30.9 million Series B in 2018, and a $41.9 million Series C in 2019.
The company, though, burned through over $15 million in Q1 — $10 million more than they burned through in Q1 2019, when they were still a preclinical company — and was left with just $16 million left in the tank.