→ Unity Biotechnology has pulled off its leap of faith, pocketing an $85 million IPO with a case built on preclinical data. The anti-aging drug developer priced its 5 million shares at $17, right in the middle of the $16 to $18 range announced earlier. Based in Brisbane, CA, Unity will now list on Nasdaq under the symbol $UBX.
Riding a surge of biotech interest in age-related diseases, Unity is poised to start their first human study of UBX0101 on osteoarthritis — one of many diseases they hope to treat by flushing senescent cells out of bodies. Execs also plan for the IPO proceeds to go toward clinical testing of another compound, dubbed UBX1967, late 2019 in one of the eye diseases it’s being developed for. They range from diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema to glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
Seeded by Arch Venture Partners — Bob Nelsen is a founder — and backed by a number of well-heeled investors, Unity has previously raised $217 million in venture funding, including a $55 million Series C a little more than a month ago. It now has some fresh fuel for the next leg of its R&D journey.
→ Abpro, a preclinical biotech in Woburn, MA developing antibody drugs for cancer and vascular eye disease, set terms for a $60 million IPO Wednesday. The company will offer 4 million shares between $14 and $16 per share. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker $ABP. In an SEC filing, the company said it will start testing ABP-100 — an antibody targeting HER2 and CD3 — in the first half of 2019. The first trial will be run in patients with HER2-positive solid tumors, focusing on orphan indications. Later in 2019, Abpro plans to start trials of ABP-201, which targets a pair of binding sites for both VEGF and Ang-2, in diabetic macular edema (DME).
→ South San Francisco-based Exelixis $EXEL is teaming up with Wisconsin’s Invenra to discover and develop novel biologics to treat cancer. The partnership, which will include up to seven projects, pairs Exelixis’ clinical development and commercialization background with Invenra’s platform tech and biologics expertise to find and develop multi-specific therapeutics, including immunotherapies. Exelixis will pay Invenra an upfront payment of $2 million, plus an additional $2 million at the start of each discovery project. Invenra is eligible to get $131.5 million in milestone payments, according to a company statement. If commercialization is achieved, that figure bumps to $325 million to include royalties and milestones on sales. The partnership is part of Exelixis’ ongoing strategy to build a pipeline beyond its two existing compounds, cabozantinib and cobimetinib, which are already on the market.
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