An­oth­er four IPOs com­plete busy week as biotech raise con­tin­ues to match 2020's record pace

Ed­i­tor’s note: In­ter­est­ed in fol­low­ing bio­phar­ma’s fast-paced IPO mar­ket? You can book­mark our IPO Track­er here.

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

Pe­ter Thiel

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.

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.

La­lo Flo­res

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.

Markus Ren­schler

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.

Health­care Dis­par­i­ties and Sick­le Cell Dis­ease

In the complicated U.S. healthcare system, navigating a serious illness such as cancer or heart disease can be remarkably challenging for patients and caregivers. When that illness is classified as a rare disease, those challenges can become even more acute. And when that rare disease occurs in a population that experiences health disparities, such as people with sickle cell disease (SCD) who are primarily Black and Latino, challenges can become almost insurmountable.

David Meek, new Mirati CEO (Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fresh off Fer­Gene's melt­down, David Meek takes over at Mi­rati with lead KRAS drug rac­ing to an ap­proval

In the insular world of biotech, a spectacular failure can sometimes stay on any executive’s record for a long time. But for David Meek, the man at the helm of FerGene’s recent implosion, two questionable exits made way for what could be an excellent rebound.

Meek, most recently FerGene’s CEO and a past head at Ipsen, has become CEO at Mirati Therapeutics, taking the reins from founding CEO Charles Baum, who will step over into the role of president and head of R&D, according to a release.

Jacob Van Naarden (Eli Lilly)

Ex­clu­sives: Eli Lil­ly out to crash the megablock­buster PD-(L)1 par­ty with 'dis­rup­tive' pric­ing; re­veals can­cer biotech buy­out

It’s taken 7 years, but Eli Lilly is promising to finally start hammering the small and affluent PD-(L)1 club with a “disruptive” pricing strategy for their checkpoint therapy allied with China’s Innovent.

Lilly in-licensed global rights to sintilimab a year ago, building on the China alliance they have with Innovent. That cost the pharma giant $200 million in cash upfront, which they plan to capitalize on now with a long-awaited plan to bust up the high-price market in lung cancer and other cancers that have created a market worth tens of billions of dollars.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

Rafaèle Tordjman (Jeito Capital)

Con­ti­nu­ity and di­ver­si­ty: Rafaèle Tord­j­man's women-led VC firm tops out first fund at $630M

For a first-time fund, Jeito Capital talks a lot about continuity.

Rafaèle Tordjman had spotlighted that concept ever since she started building the firm in 2018, promising to go the extra mile(s) with biotech entrepreneurs while pushing them to reach patients faster.

Coincidentally, the lack of continuity was one of the sore spots listed in a report about the European healthcare sector published that same year by the European Investment Bank — whose fund is one of the LPs, alongside the American pension fund Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Singapore’s Temasek, to help Jeito close its first fund at $630 million (€534 million). As previously reported, Sanofi had chimed in €50 million, marking its first investment in a French life sciences fund.

Jay Bradner (Jeff Rumans for Endpoints News)

Div­ing deep­er in­to in­her­it­ed reti­nal dis­or­ders, No­var­tis gob­bles up an­oth­er bite-sized op­to­ge­net­ics biotech

Right about a year ago, a Novartis team led by Jay Bradner and Cynthia Grosskreutz at NIBR swooped in to scoop up a Cambridge, MA-based opthalmology gene therapy company called Vedere. Their focus was on a rather narrow market niche: inherited retinal dystrophies that include a wide range of genetic retinal disorders marked by the loss of photoreceptor cells and progressive vision loss.

But that was just the first deal that whet their appetite.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 117,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

FDA hands ac­cel­er­at­ed nod to Seagen, Gen­mab's so­lo ADC in cer­vi­cal can­cer, but com­bo stud­ies look even more promis­ing

Biopharma’s resident antibody-drug conjugate expert Seagen has scored a clutch of oncology approvals in recent years, finding gold in what are known as “third-gen” ADCs. Now, another of their partnered conjugates is ready for prime time.

The FDA on Monday handed an accelerated approval to Seagen and Genmab’s Tivdak (tisotumab vedotin-tftv, or “TV”) in second-line patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer who previously progressed after chemotherapy rather than PD-(L)1 systemic therapy, the companies said in a release.

Dave Lennon, former president of Novartis Gene Therapies

Zol­gens­ma patent spat brews be­tween No­var­tis and Re­genxbio as top No­var­tis gene ther­a­py ex­ec de­parts

Regenxbio, a small licensor of gene therapy viral vectors spun out from the University of Pennsylvania, is now finding itself in the middle of some major league patent fights.

In addition to a patent suit with Sarepta Therapeutics from last September, Novartis, is now trying to push its smaller partner out of the way. The Swiss biopharma licensed Regenxbio’s AAV9 vector for its $2.1 million spinal muscular atrophy therapy Zolgensma.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 117,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Time for round 2: Il­lu­mi­na-backed VC snags $325M for its next fund

Illumina Ventures closed off its second investment fund with a total commitment of $325 million, offering fresh fuel to back a slate of startups that have already included a smorgasbord of companies, covering everything from diagnostics to biotech drug development and genomics.

Fund II brings the total investment under Illumina Ventures’ oversight to $560 million, which has been focused on early-stage companies. And it has a transatlantic portfolio that includes SQZ, Twist and Encoded Therapeutics.

Volker Wagner (L) and Jeff Legos

As Bay­er, No­var­tis stack up their ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal da­ta at #ES­MO21, a key de­bate takes shape

Ten years ago, a small Norwegian biotech by the name of Algeta showed up at ESMO — then the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Conference 2011 — and declared that its Bayer-partnered targeted radionuclide therapy, radium-223 chloride, boosted the overall survival of castration-resistant prostate cancer patients with symptomatic bone metastases.

In a Phase III study dubbed ALSYMPCA, patients who were treated with radium-223 chloride lived a median of 14 months compared to 11.2 months. The FDA would stamp an approval on it based on those data two years later, after Bayer snapped up Algeta and christened the drug Xofigo.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 117,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.