ADC Ther­a­peu­tics is­n't go­ing pub­lic in the US af­ter all, while three oth­er biotech IPOs bring in $319M

ADC Ther­a­peu­tics is tak­ing a last-minute U-turn at the NYSE af­ter bump­ing their IPO goal up from $150 mil­lion to a po­ten­tial $200 mil­lion — while three oth­er biotechs went ahead by pric­ing at the mid­point or low end of their re­spec­tive ranges.

De­spite ear­li­er in­di­ca­tions that in­sid­ers would pur­chase $115 mil­lion worth of shares, the Lau­sanne, Switzer­land-based com­pa­ny cit­ed “ad­verse mar­ket con­di­tions” for its de­ci­sion to with­draw.

Chris Mar­tin ADC

“We are for­tu­nate to have a strong bal­ance sheet, high­ly sup­port­ive in­vestors, al­ter­na­tive fi­nanc­ing op­tions and a steady flow of forth­com­ing mile­stones, all of which fac­tored in­to our de­ci­sion to not pro­ceed with an ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing in the cur­rent mar­ket con­di­tions,” CEO Chris Mar­tin said in a state­ment.

The biotech is flush with cash to run piv­otal tri­als for two of its name­sake an­ti­body-drug con­ju­gates. Just two months ago ADC stacked an­oth­er $103 mil­lion on a $200 mil­lion Se­ries E.

But fund­ing oth­er, ear­li­er stud­ies may call for more cap­i­tal, as will the scale-up of com­mer­cial and man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions to sup­port mar­ket­ing around the world. If all goes ac­cord­ing to plan, ADC plans to launch its first prod­uct, the CD-19 tar­get­ing AD­CT-402 for re­lapsed or re­frac­to­ry dif­fuse large B-cell lym­phoma, in 2021. They would be set­ting up a mar­ket­ing team in New Jer­sey and eye­ing a “sub­stan­tial in­crease in staff, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the North Amer­i­can part of the or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Mar­tin told Fierce­Biotech in June.

Biotech has en­joyed a hot streak of high-val­u­a­tion IPOs in 2019, with sev­er­al more gun­ning for $100 mil­lion this week. But as the elec­tion year looms, how long that win­dow will stay open has be­come a peren­ni­al ques­tion.

Viela Bio had lit­tle is­sue bag­ging $150 mil­lion on its Nas­daq de­but $VIE, thought the price of $19 rep­re­sent­ed the low end of the range. The As­traZeneca spin­out had to sell more shares — 7.9 mil­lion to­tal — to main­tain the deal size.

Bing Yao

CEO Bing Yao has laid out swift clin­i­cal time­lines for the au­toim­mune dis­ease pipeline he’s carved out of the Med­Im­mune bi­o­log­ics unit, which be­came a rel­ic fol­low­ing an over­haul at As­traZeneca. The an­ti-CD19 drug inebi­lizum­ab is now un­der re­view and, if ap­proved, will di­rect­ly chal­lenge Alex­ion’s Soliris in neu­romyelitis op­ti­ca spec­trum dis­or­der — a block­buster in­di­ca­tion that Roche is al­so an­gling for.

Mean­while, Fre­quen­cy Ther­a­peu­tics {FREQ} couldn’t quite reach the orig­i­nal $100 mil­lion CEO David Lucchi­no had pen­ciled in. Not on­ly did it price at the low end of the range at $14 to bag $84 mil­lion, the com­pa­ny al­so sold on­ly 6 mil­lion shares in­stead of 6.7 mil­lion.

The new cash will help fund a Phase IIa tri­al for its lead drug can­di­date — a small mol­e­cule drug that promis­es to stim­u­late re­gen­er­a­tion of hair cells in the in­ner ear, there­by restor­ing hear­ing. FX-322 was de­signed on the PCA, or prog­en­i­tor cell ac­ti­va­tion, plat­form out of a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween il­lus­tri­ous MIT re­searcher Robert Langer and Har­vard’s Jeff Karp.

Aprea was the safe and small play­er in the group, and the IPO price of $15 as well as the $85 mil­lion it reaped was more or less with­in ex­pec­ta­tions. For the biotech, which has roots in Swe­den’s Karolin­s­ka De­vel­op­ment, all eggs are in the p53 bas­ket. In the up­com­ing piv­otal tri­al they will test their the­o­ry that re­ac­ti­vat­ing mu­tant p53 can make a dif­fer­ence in myelodys­plas­tic syn­dromes when com­bined with chemother­a­py.

Tri­als for that lead pro­gram, APR-246, and man­u­fac­tur­ing as well as IND work for its oral p53 re­ac­ti­va­tor, APR-458, fea­tured promi­nent­ly in the IPO $APRE.

Fangliang Zhang, AP Images

UP­DAT­ED: Leg­end fetch­es $424 mil­lion, emerges as biggest win­ner yet in pan­dem­ic IPO boom as shares soar

Amid a flurry of splashy pandemic IPOs, a J&J-partnered Chinese biotech has emerged with one of the largest public raises in biotech history.

Legend Biotech, the Nanjing-based CAR-T developer, has raised $424 million on NASDAQ. The biotech had originally filed for a still-hefty $350 million, based on a range of $18-$20, but managed to fetch $23 per share, allowing them to well-eclipse the massive raises from companies like Allogene, Juno, Galapagos, though they’ll still fall a few dollars short of Moderna’s record-setting $600 million raise from 2018.

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Is a pow­er­house Mer­ck team prepar­ing to leap past Roche — and leave Gilead and Bris­tol My­ers be­hind — in the race to TIG­IT dom­i­na­tion?

Roche caused quite a stir at ASCO with its first look at some positive — but not so impressive — data for their combination of Tecentriq with their anti-TIGIT drug tiragolumab. But some analysts believe that Merck is positioned to make a bid — soon — for the lead in the race to a second-wave combo immuno-oncology approach with its own ambitious early-stage program tied to a dominant Keytruda.

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As it hap­pened: A bid­ding war for an an­tibi­ot­ic mak­er in a mar­ket that has rav­aged its peers

In a bewildering twist to the long-suffering market for antibiotics — there has actually been a bidding war for an antibiotic company: Tetraphase.

It all started back in March, when the maker of Xerava (an FDA approved therapy for complicated intra-abdominal infections) said it had received an offer from AcelRx for an all-stock deal valued at $14.4 million.

The offer was well-timed. Xerava was approved in 2018, four years after Tetraphase posted its first batch of pivotal trial data, and sales were nowhere near where they needed to be in order for the company to keep its head above water.

Drug man­u­fac­tur­ing gi­ant Lon­za taps Roche/phar­ma ‘rein­ven­tion’ vet as its new CEO

Lonza chairman Albert Baehny took his time headhunting a new CEO for the company, making it absolutely clear he wanted a Big Pharma or biotech CEO with a good long track record in the business for the top spot. In the end, he went with the gold standard, turning to Roche’s ranks to recruit Pierre-Alain Ruffieux for the job.

Ruffieux, a member of the pharma leadership team at Roche, spent close to 5 years at the company. But like a small army of manufacturing execs, he gained much of his experience at the other Big Pharma in Basel, remaining at Novartis for 12 years before expanding his horizons.

Covid-19 roundup: Ab­b­Vie jumps in­to Covid-19 an­ti­body hunt; As­traZeneca shoots for 2B dos­es of Ox­ford vac­cine — with $750M from CEPI, Gavi

Another Big Pharma is entering the Covid-19 antibody hunt.

AbbVie has announced a collaboration with the Netherlands’ Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Center and the Chinese-Dutch biotech Harbour Biomed to develop a neutralizing antibody that can treat Covid-19. The antibody, called 47D11, was discovered by AbbVie’s three partners, and AbbVie will support early preclinical work, while preparing for later preclinical and clinical development. Researchers described the antibody in Nature Communications last month.

Pfiz­er’s Doug Gior­dano has $500M — and some ad­vice — to of­fer a cer­tain breed of 'break­through' biotech

So let’s say you’re running a cutting-edge, clinical-stage biotech, probably public, but not necessarily so, which could see some big advantages teaming up with some marquee researchers, picking up say $50 million to $75 million dollars in a non-threatening minority equity investment that could take you to the next level.

Doug Giordano might have some thoughts on how that could work out.

The SVP of business development at the pharma giant has helped forge a new fund called the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative. And he has $500 million of Pfizer’s money to put behind 7 to 10 — or so — biotech stocks that fit that general description.

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Bris­tol My­ers is clean­ing up the post-Cel­gene merg­er pipeline, and they’re sweep­ing out an ex­per­i­men­tal check­point in the process

Back during the lead up to the $74 billion buyout of Celgene, the big biotech’s leadership did a little housecleaning with a major pact it had forged with Jounce. Out went the $2.6 billion deal and a collaboration on ICOS and PD-1.

Celgene, though, also added a $530 million deal — $50 million up front — to get the worldwide rights to JTX-8064, a drug that targets the LILRB2 receptor on macrophages.

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Mer­ck wins a third FDA nod for an­tibi­ot­ic; Mereo tack­les TIG­IT with $70M raise in hand

Merck — one of the last big pharma bastions in the beleaguered field of antibiotic drug development — on Friday said the FDA had signed off on using its combination drug, Recarbrio, with hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonia and ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia. The drug could come handy for use in hospitalized patients who are afflicted with Covid-19, who carry a higher risk of contracting secondary bacterial infections. Once SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind Covid-19, infects the airways, it engages the immune system, giving other pathogens free rein to pillage and plunder as they please — the issue is particularly pertinent in patients on ventilators, which in any case are breeding grounds for infectious bacteria.

RA Cap­i­tal, Hill­house join $310M rush to back Ever­est's climb to com­mer­cial heights in Chi­na

Money has never been an issue for Everest Medicines. With an essentially open tab from their founders at C-Bridge Capital, the biotech has gone two and a half years racking up drug after drug, bringing in top exec after top exec, and issuing clinical update after update.

But now other investors want in — and they’re betting big.

Everest is closing its Series C at $310 million. The first $50 million comes from the Jiashan National Economic and Technological Development Zone; the remaining C-2 tranche was led by Janchor Partners, with RA Capital Management and Hillhouse Capital as co-leaders. Decheng Capital, GT Fund, Janus Henderson Investors, Rock Springs Capital, Octagon Investments all joined.