AbbVie, Sanofi-backed Principia offers an $86M IPO after burning through $148M for pipeline work

It’s time for some new biotech IPOs to test the waters on Nasdaq. With some substantial backing from Sanofi and AbbVie, Principia BioPharma out of South San Francisco is getting ready to roll the dice on an IPO on Nasdaq. 

The biotech startup — a classic, pipeline-focused effort that’s spent $148 million to get to this stage — has pencilled in an $86 million raise on its S-1 and offered up some interim Phase II data to help reassure investors that it’s on to something real. This new offering will test investors’ appetite for risk, after a long slate of drug developers went public in the lead-up to the summer lull.

Martin Babler

Their lead drug is a BTK inhibitor for autoimmune diseases dubbed PRN1008. In a Phase II study for rare cases of a chronic skin condition called pemphigus, researchers say they tracked a 54% rate of disease control for 26 patients on low-dose corticosteroids — with patients on low-dose corticosteroids versus a standard high-dose for steroids — and an 80% control rate at day 85 for 20 evaluable patients. That study is continuing.

The preliminary data set up a Phase III which the company plans to launch later this year.

Their other top drug is PRN2246, another BTK inhibitor for multiple sclerosis and other CNS ailments which is allied with Sanofi. So far, they’ve gathered only biomarker data from healthy patients to underscore its activity. That’s incredibly early-stage still, but Sanofi has highlighted the alliance as one of its most promising as top execs try to make a case that they can develop significant new drugs without Regeneron by its side.

Sanofi paid $40 million in cash to partner on their drug, adding $15 million this year out of a potential $765 million initially laid out in milestones. AbbVie paid out another $15 million in cash last summer, adding $667 million for a development deal on oral immunoproteasome inhibitors — with the S-1 offering the first financial details on that deal.

CEO Martin Babler — a sales and marketing veteran out of Genentech — picked up a $1.2 million pay package for last year, based on a $374,000 annual salary plus stock options. And the rest of the executive team includes some principal players with CVs tied to Genentech parent Roche.

Most of the equity currently is divvied up among a group of venture backers, with Morgenthaler, New Leaf, OrbiMed and GSK’s SR One each holding 16.8% of the equity. Baker Brothers and Sofinnova Venture follow with 12.3% each. Babler has 4.7% of the stock.

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Sr. Manager, Regulatory Affairs, CMC
CytomX Therapeutics San Francisco, CA
Marketing Associate - Demand Generation
Catalytic Data Science Charleston, SC
Associate Principal, Life Sciences Partnerships
Flatiron Health New York City or San Francisco

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