Another 4 pharmas make the fabled Nasdaq leap, with combined raise rapidly approaching $4.5B
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The IPO train is once again full-steam ahead with four new pricings announced after market close Thursday.
Design Therapeutics, Edgewise Therapeutics, Ikena Oncology and Universe Pharmaceuticals are all hitting Nasdaq on Friday. The former three each hauled in more than $100 million, with Design raising $240 million, Edgewise netting $176 million and Ikena pulling off a $125 million raise. Universe clocked in at $25 million.
With Friday’s pricings, the combined industry IPO raise now sits at almost $4.5 billion and is roughly on pace to eclipse 2020’s record sum of $16.5 billion, according to figures kept by Nasdaq.
The raises also come shortly after Lava went public earlier this week, and the last two weeks have now seen a combined nine IPO pricings. It suggests that biotech debuts are back in full swing after a brief cool down period at the end of February, which itself followed a week where 10 companies priced their IPOs.
From launch to IPO in a little over a year
Design secured its launch round just over a year ago, and is now taking its GeneTAC platform public with a $20 per share pricing.
The San Diego-based biotech focuses on degenerative diseases linked to nucleotide repeat expansions, and is co-founded and chaired by Pratik Shah, who previously helped engineer two multi-billion M&A deals. Shah was CEO of Auspex for 2 years before Teva scooped it up for $3.5 billion in 2015, and he was also chairman at Synthorx, which Sanofi bought out for $2.5 billion at the end of 2019.
GeneTAC, short for gene targeted chimeras, helps Design go after what it says are more than 40 degenerative diseases caused by nucleotide repeat expansions. The biotech has two pipeline programs thus far, one in Friedreich’s ataxia and one in myotonic dystrophy type-1.
IPO funds are slated to go toward both of these programs, Design wrote in its S-1. It estimates $30 million is needed to take the Friedreich’s ataxia candidate through a Phase I trial and $35 million to take the DM1 program through Phase I.
Another $35 million will fund a currently undisclosed program, with the remainder of the cash going toward general R&D and corporate purposes.
Design will list under the ticker $DSGN.
Edgewise takes its muscle therapies public
Edgewise hits Nasdaq on Friday with $176 million in new cash and a $16 per share pricing.
The biotech is focusing on rare muscle disorders, with ambitions in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Becker muscular dystrophy, and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. Its lead program is already in the clinic. Edgewise says that EDG-5506 is a small molecule inhibitor for fast myofiber (type II) myosin designed to address the root cause of dystrophinopathies.
It’s currently in a Phase I trial for DMD, Becker and LGMD and Edgewise hopes it can limit the hypercontraction stress caused by the lack of dystrophin in these diseases. About $80 million of the IPO funds will be funneled toward this program to get it through the Phase I study and through the interim readout of a Phase II/III study.
An additional $55 million is earmarked for the research and development of three preclinical programs, EDG-6289, EDG-002 and EDG-003. EDG-6289 is listed as a muscle stabilizer, while the other two are billed as muscle desensitizers.
Edgewise will list under the ticker $EWTX.
BMS-partnered Ikena plowing forward
Formerly known as Kyn Therapeutics, Ikena is also pricing at $16 per share.
The Bristol Myers Squibb partner aims to leverage metabolic pathways and the broken-down molecules that result from the body’s metabolism into suppressing the body’s immune system. BMS’ stake originally came from Celgene prior to its buyout, and the S-1 indicated a few weeks ago that the company’s stake in Ikena is about 8%, good for 14,545,450 total shares.
Celgene bought those shares at $1 a piece back in January 2019, according to the S-1. With Ikena pricing at $16, that equity is now worth more than $232.7 million for BMS.
Ikena’s lead in-house program is IK-930, an oral small molecule inhibitor of a transcription factor known as TEAD. It hasn’t yet reached the clinic, but Ikena is working with BMS and Merck on a few tumor microenvironment programs that have already hit Phase I.
About $35 million to $40 million of the IPO funds are slated to go toward IK-930 to enable completion of IND studies and a Phase I launch. And $25 million to $30 million is penciled in for Ikena’s ERK5 program to nominate a candidate and get a Phase I started.
The biotech has $55 million to $60 million set for the two BMS-partnered programs, another $10 million to $15 million for the Merck-partnered program, and $25 million to $30 million slated for preclinical programs.
Ikena will list under the ticker $IKNA.
Eastern medicine company Universe enters IPO party
Universe pulls up the rear this week, pricing at $5 per share and raising a modest $25 million sum.
The Ji’an, Jiangxi, China-based company markets its programs toward the elderly in China with its traditional Chinese medicine derivatives, with the goal of addressing physical conditions related to aging as well as their general well-being. Universe boasts 26 registrations and approvals with Chinese regulators and sells 13 products as of early March.
Within its F-1, Universe says it’s splitting the IPO raise into four roughly equal parts. There is 28% listed for upgrading and expanding manufacturing facilities, 27% for R&D, 24% for marketing and 21% for corporate upkeep.
Universe listed under the ticker $UPC.