Biotech makes a $303M run on Wall Street; Bil­lion­aire Thiel backs a start­up round for an­tibi­ot­ic de­vel­op­er

⇨  It’s been an­oth­er big week on the biotech IPO front. De­ci­phera $DCPH went pub­lic, rais­ing $128 mil­lion for its sol­id tu­mor work, stick­ing to the top of the range at $17 a share. The UK’s Night­star Ther­a­peu­tics $NITE team — a gene ther­a­py com­pa­ny — hit the mid­dle of the range, rais­ing $75 mil­lion at $14 a share. And Nu­Cana, an­oth­er UK biotech which jumped to Nas­daq, scored a cool $100 mil­lion from its IPO. Nu­Cana says it is work­ing on next-gen chemother­a­pies. Add it all up and you have a pic­ture of a thriv­ing biotech mar­ket, which is cer­tain to at­tract more S-1s as the in­dus­try en­joys an­oth­er up­beat run of new of­fer­ings.

⇨ Sil­i­con Val­ley bil­lion­aire Pe­ter Thiel has a new up­start biotech to add to his port­fo­lio. Thiel was cred­it­ed as one of the lead in­vestors in a $5.5 mil­lion Se­ries A for Pep­ti­log­ics, a new an­tibi­otics com­pa­ny found­ed by Jonathan Steck­beck to tack­le mul­tidrug-re­sis­tant bac­te­r­i­al in­fec­tions. Ste­fan Roev­er, Blue­Tree Ven­tures and oth­ers al­so jumped in.

⇨ Ru­mor has it that AAA — France’s Ad­vanced Ac­cel­er­a­tor Ap­pli­ca­tions — is on the auc­tion block, with No­var­tis giv­ing it a once over. If so, they just got a boost with the Eu­ro­pean OK for their drug Lu­tathera for gas­troen­teropan­cre­at­ic neu­roen­docrine tu­mors.

⇨ IPOs aren’t the on­ly of­fer­ings to do well these days. Fol­low-ons keep pump­ing mon­ey in­to the busi­ness, as In­tra-Cel­lu­lar Ther­a­pies $IT­CI proved with a new $140 mil­lion raise.

[via AP Images]

Pur­due threat­ens to walk away from set­tle­ment, asks to pay em­ploy­ees mil­lions in bonus­es

There are two updates on the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma over its role in fueling the opioid epidemic, as the Sackler family threatens to walk away from their pledge to pay out $3 billion if a bankruptcy judge does not stop outstanding state lawsuits against them. At the same time, the company has asked permission to pay millions in bonuses to select employees.

Purdue filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy this week as part of its signed resolution to over 2,000 lawsuits. The deal would see the Sackler family that owns Purdue give $3 billion from their personal wealth and the company turned into a trust committed to curbing and reversing overdoses.

Aerial view of Genentech's campus in South San Francisco [Credit: Getty]

Genen­tech sub­mits a plan to near­ly dou­ble its South San Fran­cis­co foot­print

The sign is still there, a quaint reminder of whitewashed concrete not 5 miles from Genentech’s sprawling, chrome-and-glass campus: South Francisco The Industrial City. 

The city keeps the old sign, first erected in 1923, as a tourist site and a kind of civic memento to the days it packed meat, milled lumber and burned enough steel to earn the moniker “Smokestack of the Peninsula.” But the real indication of where you are and how much has changed both in San Francisco and in the global economy since a couple researchers and investors rented out an empty warehouse 40 years ago comes in a far smaller blue sign, resembling a Rotary Club post, off the highway: South San Francisco, The Birthplace of Biotech.

As Nas­daq en­rolls the fi­nal batch of 2019 IPOs, how have the num­bers com­pared to past years?

IGM Biosciences’ upsized IPO haul, coming after SpringWorks’ sizable public debut, has revved up some momentum for the last rush of biotech IPOs in 2019.

With 39 new listings on the books and roughly two more months to go before winding down, Nasdaq’s head of healthcare listings Jordan Saxe sees the exchange marking 50 to 60 biopharma IPOs for the year.

“December 15 is usually the last possible day that companies will price,” he said, as companies get ready for business talks at the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in January.

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A fa­vorite in Alex­ion’s C-suite is leav­ing, and some mighty sur­prised an­a­lysts aren’t the least bit hap­py about it

Analysts hate to lose a biotech CFO they’ve come to trust and admire — especially if they’re being blindsided by a surprise exit.

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'Dis­con­nect the bas­tard­s' — one biotech's plan to break can­cer cell­s' uni­fied de­fens­es

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the current gladiators of cancer treatment, but they come with well-known limitations and side-effects. The emergence of immunotherapy — a ferocious new titan in oncologist’s toolbox — takes the brakes off the immune system to kill cancer cells with remarkable success in some cases, but the approach is not always effective. What makes certain forms of cancer so resilient? Scientists may have finally pieced together a tantalizing piece of the puzzle, and a new biotech is banking on a new approach to fill the gap.

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While No­var­tis ban­ish­es Zol­gens­ma scan­dal scars — Bio­gen goes on a Spin­raza 'of­fen­sive'

While Novartis painstakingly works to mop up the stench of the data manipulation scandal associated with its expensive gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Zolgensma— rival Biogen is attempting to expand the use of its SMA therapy, Spinraza. 

The US drugmaker $BIIB secured US approval for Spinraza for use in the often fatal genetic disease in 2016. The approval covered a broad range of patients with infantile-onset (most likely to develop Type 1) SMA. 

Jason Kelly. Mike Blake/Reuters via Adobe

Eye­ing big ther­a­peu­tic push, Gink­go bags $290M to build a cell pro­gram­ming em­pire

Ginkgo Bioworks is on a roll. Days after publicizing a plan to nurture new startups via partnerships with accelerators Y Combinator and Petri, the Boston biotech says it has raised another $290 million for its cell programming platform to reach further and wider.

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UP­DAT­ED: Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi to un­veil bill for fed­er­al­ly ne­go­ti­at­ed drug prices

After months of buzz from both sides of the aisle, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will today introduce her plan to allow the federal government to negotiate prices for 250 prescription drugs, setting up a showdown with a pharmaceutical industry working overtime to prevent it.

The need to limit drug prices is a rare point of agreement between President Trump and Democrats, although the president has yet to comment on the proposal and will likely face pressure to back a more conservative option or no bill at all. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is reportedly lobbying his fellow party members on a more modest proposal he negotiated with Democratic Senator Ron Wyden in July.

Jeff Kindler's Cen­trex­ion re­news bid to make pub­lic de­but

Jeffrey Kindler’s plan to take his biotech — which is developing a slate of non-opioid painkillers — public, is back on.

The Boston based company, led by former Pfizer $PFE chief Kindler, originally contemplated a $70 million to $80 million IPO last year— but eventually postponed that strategy. On Wednesday, the company revived its bid to make a public debut in a filing with the SEC — although no pricing details were disclosed.