A unicorn joins this week’s stampede of biotechs into the red-hot Nasdaq casino
Now that the July 4 holiday week is well behind us, Nasdaq is getting cracking again with new offerings, and biotech companies — including a Flagship-built unicorn — are once again dominating the latest round of IPOs lining up for their Nasdaq closeup this week.
The 5 lined up for their IPO runs this week are hunting more than $500 million and proof that they share a market value of about $4 billion. Roughly half of that is laid out in Rubius’ S-1 as that biotech hunts up $200 million.
The roundup will add another batch of IPOs that are all falling on top of a record-setting pace in June. The question now is how long the window will remain wide open — and ultimately who wins and who implodes. For now, the industry is on pace to rival the go-go times of 2014 — but the smart money expects a slowdown.
Of course, the smart money was also surprised by the burst of biotech IPOs we’ve been seeing. And Friday’s Urovant filing for $150 million indicates that Vivek Ramaswamy thinks the IPO run still has legs to go much further.
Here’s a snapshot of this week’s action at the casino, er, market.
Based: San Carlos, CA
Seeking: $96 million
Market cap: $738 million
The scoop: The lead drug targets the inhibitory receptor Siglec-8, found on the surface of mast cells and eosinophils. And Allakos believes it has real potential in a broad range of indications, including eosinophilic gastritis, indolent systemic mastocytosis, urticaria and severe allergic conjunctivitis. Last summer the biotech recruited a pair of ZS Pharma vets — Robert Alexander and Adam Tomasi — to take over as CEO and COO/CFO. AstraZeneca acquired ZS for $2.7 billion.
Based: Cambridge, MA
Seeking: $80 million
Market cap: $430 million
The scoop: In this case we have one of the oldest biotechs of the year going public after winding in and out of an option deal with Genentech — which the S-1 tells us walked from their $40 million upfront. Keith Dionne, then CEO, famously celebrated the end of the Genentech option, but was gone soon after and replaced by Jigar Raythatha. The company reorganized, and went back at the epigenetics drawing board. The biotech started a Phase Ib/II study of CPI-1205, an EZH2 inhibitor combined with Yervoy, that they hope will highlight their potential in dialing down gene expression in cancer pathways to enhance immuno-oncology drugs.
Based: San Diego
Seeking: $80 million
Market cap: $380 million
The scoop: The team at Crinetics have been working on new drugs after developing some novel thoughts about the way GPCRs work. The lead program is focused on acromegaly, a rare disease triggered when the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone, causing enlarged bones that can lead to gigantism, which caused Andre the Giant to swell in size. It also ultimately killed him. Somatostatin can rein that in, but synthetic somatostatin analogs don’t always work. That leaves the biotech in the hunt for a small molecule that can.
Based: Woburn, MA
Seeking: $101 million
Market cap: $500 million
The scoop: The team that originally invented T-Vec , the pioneering oncolytic virus treatment that Amgen bought and pushed to an approval after acquiring BioVex, are still playing in the same field. Only now they feel that they’re leading the next-gen crowd of developers — which is huge. The company is working closely with Regeneron on a combo using their PD-1 — slated to soon become the sixth checkpoint to hit the market with big, big plans of its own.
Based: Cambridge, MA
Seeking: $200 million
Market cap: $1.8 billion
The scoop: They have a ton of money, including a recent megaround, to reassure investors. And the plan is to conquer the world with a brand new approach: taking red blood cells — designed by nature to transport oxygen — hijack them through genetic engineering tech and get them to carry proteins needed to fight various diseases. It’s an off-the-shelf approach, rather than one personalized for each patient.