Peter Blume-Jensen, Acrivon CEO

A rare biotech IPO lands on Nas­daq, boost­ed by RA Cap­i­tal and a for­mer Eli Lil­ly drug

An­oth­er biotech backed by RA Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment is mak­ing the Nas­daq jump Tues­day, brav­ing the cold bear mar­ket wa­ters.

Acrivon Ther­a­peu­tics priced its IPO at $12.50 a share, be­low the ex­pect­ed range of $16 to $18, rough­ly a year af­ter it put to­geth­er its last fi­nanc­ing round — and less than 18 months af­ter launch­ing out of stealth. In to­tal, the IPO brought the com­pa­ny just short of a nine-fig­ure raise, com­ing in at $99.4 mil­lion.

The of­fer­ing is ex­pect­ed to close Thurs­day, at which point the fi­nal raise to­tal could end up high­er or low­er than the $99.4 mil­lion fig­ure.

Un­like the en­vi­ron­ment in which Acrivon launched, when the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic fu­eled in­ter­est and hefty sums of VC cap­i­tal in­to the life sci­ences, the IPOs froze over in 2022. Though there have been a hand­ful of $100 mil­lion IPOs this year — if Acrivon sur­pass­es the thresh­old, it would be the eighth — it pales in com­par­i­son to 2021 when there were 62 such rais­es, per the End­points News tal­ly and da­ta from Deal­For­ma’s Chris Doko­ma­ji­lar.

Near­ly two-thirds of those com­pa­nies, or 40 out of 62, al­so com­plet­ed their IPO rais­es in the first half of 2021.

But that en­vi­ron­ment didn’t scare off Acrivon, which is go­ing pub­lic with an old Eli Lil­ly as­set as its lead com­pound. The pro­gram, for­mer­ly known as prex­as­ert­ib, was a top mid-stage drug for Lil­ly a few years ago but was swept out in the first quar­ter of 2019 af­ter it failed to make sig­nif­i­cant head­way. It spawned out of Lil­ly’s ef­forts to de­vel­op a CHK1/CHK2 drug for ovar­i­an can­cer.

In June 2021, Acrivon ex­changed eq­ui­ty for Lil­ly’s rights to the drug — now called ACR-368 — and is now pur­su­ing a slate of Phase II stud­ies. Al­most all of Tues­day’s IPO funds will go to­ward ad­vanc­ing this pro­gram in­to three in­di­ca­tions, with the rest fund­ing pre­clin­i­cal re­search, ac­cord­ing to the S-1.

The IPO raise is ex­pect­ed to push Acrivon’s run­way through “at least in­to the fourth quar­ter of 2024,” giv­ing it a two-year time­line to com­plete the Phase II tri­als be­fore need­ing more cash. Re­searchers plan to start test­ing the drug in pa­tients with plat­inum-re­sis­tant ovar­i­an, en­dome­tri­al and blad­der can­cer.

Per the SEC fil­ings, the biggest IPO win­ner is a firm called Chione Lim­it­ed, whose sole stock­hold­er, Wiaczes­law Smolokows­ki, is one of Poland’s wealth­i­est in­di­vid­u­als and has al­so pre­vi­ous­ly in­vest­ed in Karyopharm Ther­a­peu­tics. Chione will own about 18% af­ter the of­fer­ing clos­es, fol­lowed by RA at 7.5% and Per­cep­tive at 6.4%.

CEO Pe­ter Blume-Jensen and his wife, co-founder and EVP of busi­ness ops Kristi­na Mas­son, al­so col­lec­tive­ly own 7.3%. Once the biotech of­fi­cial­ly lands on Nas­daq, it will trade un­der the tick­er $ACRV.

Acrivon is just the third biotech in the last two months to go pub­lic. It fol­lows Third Har­mon­ic Bio, which priced at $185 mil­lion in Sep­tem­ber, and David Liu’s Prime Med­i­cine, which priced at $175 mil­lion in Oc­to­ber.

The Big Phar­ma dis­card pile; Lay­offs all around while some biotechs bid farewell; New Roche CEO as­sem­bles top team; and more

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With earnings seasons in full swing, we’ve listened in on all the calls so you don’t have to. But news is popping up from all corners, so make sure you check out our other updates, too.

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Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.

Raymond Stevens, Structure Therapeutics CEO

Be­hind Fri­day's $161M IPO: A star sci­en­tist, GPCR drug dis­cov­ery and a plan to chal­lenge phar­ma in di­a­betes

What does it take to pull off a $161 million biotech IPO these days?

In Structure Therapeutics’ case, it means having a star scientist co-founder paired with the computational drug discovery company Schrödinger, $198 million in private funding from blue-chip investors, almost six years of research work on G protein-coupled receptors and a slate of oral, small-molecule drugs, with an eye on the huge and growing diabetes and weight-loss market.

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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

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Af­ter 13 years, Ramy Mah­moud steps in­to CEO seat at Opti­nose; Ru­pert Vessey set to ex­it Bris­tol My­ers in Ju­ly

After 13 years as president and COO at Optinose, Ramy Mahmoud has stepped into a new role as its CEO. He is taking the place of Peter Miller, who stepped down earlier this week, though Miller is still staying with the company as a consultant.

In 2010, the two business partners joined Optinose to take it in a new direction, transforming it from a delivery platform to product company. They previously worked together at Johnson & Johnson, when Miller was president at Janssen and Mahmoud headed medical affairs. Miller said after he learned about Optinose, “I did what I always do, which is find people smarter than me to talk with about the idea. And the first person I called was Ramy … and I said, ‘Hey, Ramy, what do you think of this technology?’”

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Ma­gen­ta halts stem cell work and may sell it­self fol­low­ing pa­tient death, clin­i­cal hold

Magenta Therapeutics said it is halting work on its stem cell transplant drug pipeline and may sell itself, a week after the company reported the death of a patient in an early stage trial of its antibody-drug conjugate.

The Cambridge, MA-based company said it will conduct a “review of strategic alternatives,” and that could include an “acquisition, merger, business combination, or other transaction.”

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Te­va drops out of in­dus­try trade group PhRMA

Following in AbbVie’s footsteps, Teva confirmed on Friday that it’s dropping out of the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Teva didn’t give a reason for its decision to leave, saying only in a statement to Endpoints News that it annually reviews “effectiveness and value of engagements, consultants and memberships to ensure our investments are properly seated.”

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Sanofi CFO Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon (L) and CEO Paul Hudson (Romuald Meigneux/Sipa via AP Images)

Sanofi sees downtick in flu sales as it preps for launch of RSV an­ti­body

Sanofi expects its RSV antibody jointly developed with AstraZeneca will be available next season, executive VP of vaccines Thomas Triomphe announced on the company’s quarterly call.

Beyfortus, also known as nirsevimab, was approved in the EU back in November and is currently under FDA review with an expected decision coming in the third quarter of this year. The news comes as the FDA plans to hold advisory committee meetings over the next couple months to review RSV vaccines from Pfizer and GSK.

Christophe Weber, Takeda CEO (Photographer: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Take­da fo­cus­es on ‘di­verse’ pipeline prospects on heels of two ac­qui­si­tions

After a whopping $4 billion asset buy from Nimbus Therapeutics, along with a $400 million deal with Hutchmed for a colorectal cancer drug, Takeda executives touted pipeline optimism on its latest earnings call this week.

That’s because the TYK2 inhibitor for psoriasis Takeda is getting from Nimbus, along with the Hutchmed fruquintinib commercialization outside of China, are just two of what it reports are 10 late-stage development programs of promising candidates.