Another four IPOs complete busy week as biotech raise continues to match 2020's record pace
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One of the busiest IPO weeks of the year has capped off with another four biotechs expected to make their public debuts Friday.
After Lyell, Verve and Molecular Partners all priced earlier in the week, ATAI Life Sciences, Century Therapeutics, Ambrx Biopharma and Cyteir Therapeutics each followed suit with nine-figure raises after market close Thursday. All that effort has driven the combined biotech IPO raise close to $9 billion, per the Endpoints News tally.
With the end of the second quarter rapidly approaching, the industry is well on its way to eclipsing 2020’s record IPO figures. Last year saw a $16.5 billion combined raise from 91 biotechs, according to Nasdaq, where 2021’s sum thus far comes from 53 newly public companies.
ATAI led Friday’s group, tallying a $225 million raise at $15 per share. Century also hit the $200 million mark, raising $211 million at $20 per share. Cyteir and Ambrx followed up with totals of $133 million and $126 million, respectively, each launching their stock at $18.
‘Believing in magic,’ Thiel-backed ATAI jumps to Nasdaq
Backed by billionaire Peter Thiel, ATAI has completed the next step in its journey as it continues its unique mission of wrapping several psychedelic biotechs under one corporate umbrella.
The IPO follows two nine-figure private raises, with a $125 million Series C last November and a $157 million Series D in March. CEO Florian Brand told Endpoints News at the time that their psychedelic strategy proved essential in driving that heavy investor interest, and that ostensibly continued into ATAI’s Nasdaq leap.
Having finished its IPO prep, we can now glean some more information out of ATAI’s public plans thanks to an updated S-1 filing. The biotech listed seven of their 14 portfolio companies toward which IPO funds will be directed, with Perception and Recognify leading the way. Perception had been one of ATAI’s earliest acquisitions, while Recognify joined the fold this past January.
Perception’s cash will be used to launch and complete a Phase II study for a program in treatment resistant depression, while Recognify is looking to finish a Phase IIa trial for their candidate they say can modulate the cholinergic, NMDA and GABA type B receptor systems.
The other companies specifically slated for funds are DemeRx, GABA Therapeutics, Neuronasal, Kures and Viridia. But ATAI isn’t stopping there, saving a massive amount for other players in their portfolio and setting aside $75 to $85 million for another potential acquisition.
ATAI will trade under the ticker $ATAI. Founder Christian Angermayer, who controls the largest stake in ATAI at 19.1% post-offering, tweeted his apparent pleasure at the news early Friday.
Be happy. Live your dreams. Believe in magic. 🍄😉🚀
— Christian Angermayer (@C_Angermayer) June 18, 2021
Cell therapy player Century continues its hot streak
Looking to capitalize on the momentum in another hot market — allogeneic cell therapy — CEO Lalo Flores is steering Century to Nasdaq.
The IPO continues a big year for Flores, who nailed down a $160 million raise back in March to scale their iPSC platform for CAR-T and CAR-NK efforts. Century is taking what they see as a different approach to the technology, however, opting for induced pluripotent stem cells rather than donor cells.
Century’s lead program, a CD19 CAR-NK that they hope to steer into a human trial by 2022, is expected to see a $50 million windfall from the IPO. Three other programs will get a combined $110 million in funds, Century said in its S-1 earlier this week.
The triumvirate of those preclinical programs targeting CD133 and EGFR, CD19 and CD79b, as well as another multispecific candidate. If everything goes as planned, Century will complete its slate of INDs by the end of 2024. Another $35 million is slated to boost the biotech’s manufacturing capabilities.
Century has some big players as its top investors, who will each see hefty windfalls with the IPO raise. Versant is the biotech’s biggest shareholder with a 24.7% post-offering stake, while Bayer will control 21.8% of shares once the IPO is completed. Fujifilm’s cell manufacturing subsidiary also owns 12.7% of Century.
Once it rings in the IPO on Friday, Century will trade under the ticker $IPSC.
Cyteir hits the bullseye in IPO raise
Cyteir’s public leap comes after a Series C round in February that saw the biotech pull in $80 million.
They’ve invested heavily in their lead program, an oral inhibitor of RAD51-mediated DNA repair, and the biotech is aiming to potentially complete a Phase II trial as a monotherapy with $85 million of the $133 million IPO. Targeting RAD51, the candidate hits at a critical enzyme in double-stranded DNA repair, as Cyteir researches the concept of synthetic lethality.
The biotech hopes the phenomenon can inhibit the DNA damage repair cancer cells need to survive and grow, CEO Markus Renschler told Endpoints in February.
Behind this program is another RAD51 candidate, but is still in the preclinical stage. Here, Cyteir will funnel $22 million of its IPO cash, and save the rest for other general R&D and corporate purposes.
Cyteir has some big backers behind the IPO, with Novo holdings topping the charts at a 13.2% stake after the offering. Janwillem Naesens’ Droia Ventures comes in second with a 9.5% stake, matching the shares owned by Venrock. And RA Capital and Celgene/Bristol Myers Squibb each own significant stakes, at 5.8% and 5.1%, respectively.
Other major stockholders include Osage University Partners II at 7.2% and Lightstone Ventures at 7.1%. Cyteir will trade under the ticker $CYT.
Second time’s the charm for re-energized Ambrx
Ambrx’s second attempt to go public has ended in success, following a 2014 effort that was withdrawn.
After selling itself to a syndicate of Chinese investors and pharma companies, Ambrx laid low until a $200 million crossover raise last November helped complete its pivot to China. They’ve lined up partnerships with Merck, Bristol Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly over the years, and signed discovery deals with BeiGene, Suzhou-based MabSpace and Shanghai-based NovoCodex, among others.
Ambrx moved its first in-house drug into the clinic, a HER2-targeting antibody-drug conjugate, and much of the IPO’s cash will focus on pushing it forward in overexpressed HER2 breast and gastric cancers, as well as other solid tumors. A prostate cancer program will also see some funds.
The Beijing investment firm HOPU stands to gain the most from this IPO, as it will own a 14.8% stake in Ambrx after the offering is finished. WuXi is also involved with 11.1% of post-offering shares. CEO Feng Tian will collect some cash as well, owning about 5.8 million shares that amount to a 2.2% stake.
Ambrx will trade under the ticker $AMAM.