Another busy week for IPOs begins with an off-the shelf cell therapy player sniffing around unicorn status
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A flurry of biotechs are expected to hit Nasdaq this week, with two companies, Ambrx Biopharma and Century Therapeutics, setting the terms for their public debuts, with expected raises at $126 million and $200 million, respectively. Alzamend Neuro is also joining in with a $12.5 million raise and two preclinical Alzheimer’s treatments in tow.
The newest raises bring the total number of biotech and biopharma companies to file or price their IPOs this year to 69, according to Endpoints News’ tally.
After ditching its last effort to go public, second time’s the charm for Ambrx
Ambrx Biopharma is finally gearing up to go public after its last effort flopped back in 2014.
The La Jolla, CA-based biotech plans to offer 7 million shares at a range of $17 to $19, which would amount to a $126 million raise.
The last attempt to go public sent the company scrambling, as the board OK’d a radically different strategy to move forward, approving a plan to sell itself to a syndicate of Chinese investors and pharma companies. Last November, the company nabbed a $200 million crossover raise, marking the culmination of its pivot to China. Since 2015, it has inked discovery deals with BeiGene, Suzhou-based MabSpace, Shanghai-based NovoCodex, and others.
Ambrx plans to dump $87.8 million in IPO proceeds into its HER2-targeting antibody-drug conjugate ARX788, which is being studied in solid tumors, including breast and gastric cancers. The most advanced trial is a Phase II/III evaluating the candidate in HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer in China, according to the F-1/A.
Another $16.6 million is tagged for the Phase I development of a second candidate in the company’s ADC pipeline, ARX517, in prostate cancer. A total of $31.5 million is going toward preclinical candidates, including for IND-enabling and Phase I studies of its engineered precision biologics.
Ambrx plans to list under the ticker $AMAM.
Century Therapeutics looks to jump onto Nasdaq with allogeneic cell therapies
There could soon be another biotech unicorn in town as Century Therapeutics has set the terms for a $200 million IPO. The company plans on offering 10.6 million shares at a range of $18 to $20, the midpoint of which would bring its market value to $1.1 billion.
The company had penciled in a $100 million raise on its S-1 back in May, but in the last year that number has become a placeholder for companies who go on to raise much more.
The news comes just a few months after CEO Lalo Flores steered the company to a $160 million raise. Century launched with a $250 million megaround back in 2019 to create a portfolio of CAR-T and CAR-NKs using induced pluripotent stem cells. It plans on filing an IND for its lead candidate, CNTY-101, in B-cell lymphoma next year.
Flores will use $50 million of the IPO funds to prep CNTY-101 for the clinic and initiate a Phase I trial, according to the company’s S-1/A. Another $110 million is set aside for its other candidates: CNTY-103, for which Century plans on filing an IND in glioblastoma in the first half of 2023; CNTY-102, which will be IND-ready by the second half of 2023; and CNTY-104, which is being developed to treat AML and won’t be ready for an IND until mid-2024.
When Century goes public, it plans to trade under the ticker $IPSC.
Alzamend Neuro attracts investors with its own beta-amyloid Alzheimer’s approach
The week after Biogen’s controversial approval for its Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, Alzamend Neuro priced a $12.5 million IPO to take its own slate of neurodegenerative drugs into the clinic.
The Tampa-based biotech is putting up 2.5 million shares at $5 apiece — raising a bit more than the $11.5 million it penciled in on its S-1 back in May.
The lead candidate, AL001, is an ionic cocrystal of lithium created at the University of South Florida. While conventional lithium salts have long been used as a prophylactic for depression — and are currently used as a mood stabilizer for patients with bipolar disorder — they require multiple doses throughout the day to reach therapeutic concentrations in the blood. Current lithium drugs like lithium chloride and lithium carbonate suffer toxicities and poor physiochemical properties. But Alzamend thinks it doesn’t have to be that way.
Scientists at USF set out to make a new lithium cocrystal composition that would allow for lower dosing, with improved physiochemical properties. Alzamend plans on submitting an IND for AL001 by the end of the month, and tagged $5.3 million in IPO funds for topline readouts on Phase I trials in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.
The company’s second preclinical candidate, AL002, is a cell therapy that aims to restore the ability of a patient’s immune system to fight off Alzheimer’s and is set to receive $3.6 million in IPO money.
Like Aduhelm, Alzamend says its AL002 is designed to clear beta-amyloids, sticky plaques that accumulate in patients’ brains. One theory is that as people age, their immune systems become unable to produce natural beta-amyloid antibodies, which lead to the plaque build-up causing Alzheimer’s symptoms. However, numerous failed trials from other companies’ amyloid-clearing drugs have led some scientists to believe that amyloid is merely a symptom of the disease, rather than the root cause.
Alzamend says both candidates have shown a positive effect on beta-amyloids in preclinical trials. Another $305,000 in IPO proceeds is set aside to pay license fees and milestones to USF, according to an S-1/A.
Alzamend will list under $ALZN.