Ali­gos Ther­a­peu­tics, de­vel­op­ing sev­er­al dif­fer­ent hep B and NASH treat­ments, files for $100M IPO raise

An­oth­er biotech filed to go pub­lic late Fri­day as the 2020 IPO par­ty rages on.

Ali­gos Ther­a­peu­tics, fo­cus­ing on chron­ic he­pati­tis B and NASH, sub­mit­ted its S-1 pa­per­work to the SEC with a goal of rais­ing $100 mil­lion. The com­pa­ny’s lead can­di­date is known as a STOPS mol­e­cule, or an S-anti­gen trans­port-in­hibit­ing oligonu­cleotide poly­mer, and start­ed a Phase I study for CHB in Au­gust.

Through late Au­gust, the in­dus­try as a whole had raised $11 bil­lion-plus across four dozen IPOs, per in­de­pen­dent an­a­lyst Brad Lon­car, sur­pass­ing the amount from all of 2019.

Af­ter four oth­er biotechs priced their shares last Fri­day, the to­tal num­ber of in­dus­try IPOs in 2020 reached 56, Nas­daq’s head of health­care list­ings Jor­dan Saxe told End­points News at the time. Nas­daq has count­ed $11.3 bil­lion raised for those 56 biotechs through Fri­day. Saxe’s tal­ly al­so match­es Lon­car’s to­tal from 2018, which made 2020 tied for the most biotech IPOs seen since at least 2017.

The the­o­ry be­hind the lead pro­gram, dubbed ALG-010133, is that sup­press­ing the S-anti­gen in the he­pati­tis B virus can boost the pa­tients’ com­pro­mised im­mune sys­tems and im­prove vi­ral clear­ance in chron­ic he­pati­tis B. Ali­gos’ Phase I study will mea­sure safe­ty and an­tivi­ral ac­tiv­i­ty in up to 12 week­ly dos­es, both in healthy vol­un­teers and vi­ro­log­i­cal­ly sup­pressed pa­tients with CHB.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment at the time, ALG-010133 will first be eval­u­at­ed as a monother­a­py but Ali­gos said it has seen some po­ten­tial that it could be used in com­bi­na­tion ther­a­pies.

Topline re­sults for some co­horts are ex­pect­ed in the sec­ond half of 2021, and the first pa­tients were dosed at a tri­al site in New Zealand. Oth­er sites across Asia and Eu­rope have not be­gun dos­ing as of yet.

Ali­gos has three oth­er pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams try­ing to hit the chron­ic he­pati­tis B in­di­ca­tion, each with dif­fer­ent mech­a­nisms of ac­tion. The first is with cap­sid as­sem­bly mod­u­la­tors, which are small mol­e­cules that in­ter­fere with HBV cap­sid dis­as­sem­bly and vi­ral repli­ca­tion. This pro­gram, called ALG-000184, is ex­pect­ed to be­gin clin­i­cal tri­als be­fore the end of the year.

The com­pa­ny’s oth­er two CHB pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams both can in­hib­it the virus’s mR­NA that en­codes S-anti­gens, Ali­gos says. These two meth­ods are through an an­ti­sense oligonu­cleotide, as well as a small in­ter­fer­ing RNA. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, the biotech’s NASH pro­gram — al­so in pre­clin­i­cal stud­ies — is a THB-be­ta ag­o­nist.

Ali­gos’ S-1 did not give much de­tail about how it ex­pects to divvy up the funds from the IPO raise, on­ly that the mon­ey would main­ly go to­wards fund­ing these five pro­grams.

Al­so on Fri­day, a 5AM Ven­tures-backed blank check com­pa­ny filed to go pub­lic, seek­ing an $80 mil­lion raise. The com­pa­ny, called 5:01 Ac­qui­si­tion, is not plan­ning on op­er­at­ing like a nor­mal SPAC in that it’s not of­fer­ing war­rants that would be­come ex­er­cis­able fol­low­ing com­ple­tion of the ini­tial busi­ness com­bi­na­tion, per Re­nais­sance Cap­i­tal.

5:01 Ac­qui­si­tion did not spec­i­fy with which biotech it plans to con­duct a re­verse merg­er.

Charles Baum, Mirati CEO

Mi­rati plots a march to the FDA for its KRAS G12C drug, breath­ing down Am­gen’s neck with bet­ter da­ta

Mirati Therapeutics $MRTX took another closely-watched step toward a now clearly defined goal to file for an approval for its KRAS G12C cancer drug adagrasib (MRTX849), scoring a higher response rate than the last readout from the class-leading rival at Amgen but still leaving open a raft of important questions about its future.

Following a snapshot of the first handful of responses, where the drug scored a tumor response in 3 of 5 patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the response rate has now slid to 45% among a pooled group of 51 early-stage and Phase II patients, 43% — 6 of 14 — when looking solely at the Phase I/Ib. Those 14 patients had a median treatment duration of 8.2 months, with half still on therapy and 5 of 6 responders still in response.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

In his­toric Covid-19 ad­comm, vac­cine ex­perts de­bate a sea of ques­tions — but of­fer no clear an­swers

The most widely anticipated and perhaps most widely watched meeting in the FDA’s 113-year history ended late Thursday night with a score of questions and very few answers.

For nearly 9 hours, 18 different outside experts listened to public health agencies and foundations present how the United States’ Covid-19 vaccine program developed through October, and they debated where it should go from there: Were companies testing the right metrics in their massive trials? How long should they track patients before declaring a vaccine safe or effective? Should a vaccine, once authorized, be given to the volunteers in the placebo arm of a trial?

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca CEO (Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: FDA gives As­traZeneca the thumbs-up to restart PhI­II Covid-19 vac­cine tri­als, and J&J is prepar­ing to re­sume its study

Several countries had restarted their portions of AstraZeneca’s global Phase III Covid-19 vaccine trial after the study was paused worldwide in early September, but the US notably stayed on the sidelines — until now. Friday afternoon the pharma giant announced the all clear from US regulators. And on top of that, J&J announced Friday evening that it’s preparing to resume its own Phase III vaccine trial.

Adrian Gottschalk, Foghorn CEO (Foghorn)

Foghorn hits Nas­daq in $120M de­but as the biotech IPO boom shows no sign of slow­ing

It’s been a record year for biotech IPOs, and the execs at Nasdaq would like nothing better than to see that momentum continue into the first half of next year.

Since January, 72 biotech and biopharma companies have hit Wall Street, according to Nasdaq head of healthcare listings Jordan Saxe, together raising $13.2 billion.

The latest is Flagship’s Foghorn Therapeutics, which priced its shares last night at $16 apiece, the midpoint of a $15 to $17 range. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech — which initially filed for a $100 million raise on Oct. 2 — is netting $120 million from a 7.5 million-share offering. The proceeds will go right into its gene traffic control platform, including two lead preclinical oncology candidates.

Ul­tragenyx in­jects $40M to grab Solid's mi­crody­s­trophin trans­gene — while side­step­ping the AAV9 vec­tor that stirred up safe­ty fears

Since before Ilan Ganot started Solid Bio to develop a gene therapy for kids like his son, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Ultragenyx CEO Emil Kakkis has been watching and advising the former investment banker as he navigated the deep waters of drug development.

Just as Solid is getting back up on its feet after a yearlong clinical hold, Kakkis has decided to jump in for a formal alliance.

With a $40 million upfront, Ultragenyx is grabbing 14.45% of Solid’s shares $SLDB and the rights to its microdystrophin construct for use in combination with AAV8 vectors. Solid’s lead program, which utilizes AAV9, remains unaffected. The company also retains rights to other applications of its transgene.

Michel Vounatsos, Biogen CEO (via YouTube)

Bio­gen spot­lights a pair of painful pipeline set­backs as ad­u­canum­ab show­down looms at the FDA

Biogen has flagged a pair of setbacks in the pipeline, spotlighting the final failure for a one-time top MS prospect while scrapping a gene therapy for SMA after the IND was put on hold due to toxicity.

Both failures will raise the stakes even higher on aducanumab, the Alzheimer’s drug that Biogen is betting the ranch on, determined to pursue an FDA OK despite significant skepticism they can make it with mixed results and a reliance on post hoc data mining. And the failures are being reported as Biogen was forced to cut its profit forecast for 2020 as a generic rival started to erode their big franchise drug.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Adam Koppel and Jeffrey Schwartz, Bain

Bain ex­ecs Adam Kop­pel and Jef­frey Schwartz line up $125M for their first blank check deal as Wall Street con­tin­ues to em­brace biotech

Adam Koppel and Jeffrey Schwartz have jumped into the blank check game, raising $125 million for a stock listing in search of a company.

Their SPAC, BCLS Acquisition Corp, raised $125 million this week, with a line on $25 million more as it scouts for a biotech in search of money and a place on Wall Street.

The two principals at Bain Life Sciences have been on a romp since they set up the Bain operation 4 years ago. Their S-1 spells out a track record of 22 deals totaling $650 million for the life sciences group, which led to 9 IPOs.

Stephen Hahn, FDA commissioner (AP Images)

As FDA sets the stage for the first Covid-19 vac­cine EUAs, some big play­ers are ask­ing for a tweak of the guide­lines

Setting the stage for an extraordinary one-day meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee this Thursday, the FDA has cleared 2 experts of financial conflicts to help beef up the committee. And regulators went on to specify the safety, efficacy and CMC input they’re looking for on EUAs, before they move on to the full BLA approval process.

All of this has already been spelled out to the developers. But the devil is in the details, and it’s clear from the first round of posted responses that some of the top players — including J&J and Pfizer — would like some adjustments and added feedback. And on Thursday, the experts can offer their own thoughts on shaping the first OKs.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 92,400+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Biond­Vax stock im­plodes af­ter a big PhI­II gam­ble for its uni­ver­sal flu vac­cine fails

After flying high on Wall Street for the last few months of a pandemic, BiondVax’s stock and dreams of getting approval for its universal flu vaccine hit the windshield.

The Jerusalem-based biotech announced on Friday that its only clinical candidate, M-001, failed both primary and secondary endpoints in a Phase III study. There was no statistically significant difference in reduction of flu illness and severity between the vaccine and placebo groups, according to the company. The vaccine did prove safe, if ineffective, BiondVax said.