Aptinyx looks to bring its NMDA pipeline to Nasdaq, filing for an $80 million IPO

A day after Aptinyx closed an option deal with Allergan for a small molecule depression drug, the biotech handed in its S-1, penciling in an $80 million raise as it looks to join the IPO queue. If they make it, they will trade under the $APTX handle.

Norbert Riedel

Run by CEO Norbert Riedel, Evanston, IL-based Aptinyx was spun out of the $1.7 billion buyout of Naurex — with $560 million in cash — which Allergan CEO Brent Saunders wanted for its lead NMDA drug aimed at major depression. That drug is now dubbed rapastinel, which won a breakthrough drug designation at the FDA.

We learned from the S-1 that Allergen was able to pick up its option this week on a follow-up oral drug for depression for only $1 million, with another pair of drugs still on the table for another $1 million option fee each. And Allergan has stayed allied with the NMDA team, funding half of the R&D costs at a rate of about $4 million a year in 2016 and 2017.

Aptinyx had $82.4 million in cash and equivalents at the end of March after raising a grand total of $135 million, and even with the IPO would need to raise more for a Phase III effort. Being on Nasdaq would likely make that easier, provided the data looks good.

Still focused on NMDA, Aptinyx’s most advanced drug now is in Phase II studies for chronic pain, with a readout expected in the first half of next year that could set the biotech on a course for some risky pivotal work. An early-stage drug, NYX-783, is being developed for post-traumatic stress disorder. And an IND is coming up on a candidate for Parkinson’s dementia.

The NMDA pathway has inspired a multitude of research programs over the years, with plenty of setbacks in the field along the way. Aptinyx, though, believes it found the right approach on modulation that can make it work, and if Allergan comes out on top with their depression drug, the smaller biotech will benefit enormously.

But it’s slam dunk.

Adams Street Partners is the lead player in the syndicate that backed Aptinyx, with close to 15% of the equity. New Leaf, Longitude and Frazier Life Sciences each hold 11.63%, with Bain coming at 7%.

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