Boasting new discoveries from Xtandi, Erleada inventors, ORIC pitches $86M IPO on cancer drugs targeted at resistance
Months after kicking off Phase Ib trials, a group of seasoned cancer drug developers out of the Bay Area have filed for an $86 million IPO in anticipation of a preliminary look on whether their glucocorticoid receptor antagonist works against prostate cancer and other solid tumors.
As ORIC Pharmaceuticals’ name — which is actually an acronym — suggests, the company wants to “overcome resistance in cancer.”
They further break it down in the S-1:
Our resistance platform is focused on three areas: (1) innate resistance, which derives from an unaddressed oncogenic driver that promotes tumorigenesis; (2) acquired resistance, the result of an induced or enriched oncogenic driver that arises in response to treatment; and (3) bypass resistance, the activation of a compensatory signaling pathway in response to treatment.
Charles Sawyers and Rich Heyman, two of the co-founders of ORIC, were behind some of these existing treatments, including Xtandi (which Sawyers licensed to Medivation before it was bought by Pfizer) and Erleada (which Heyman steered at Aragon until J&J snapped it up). After Sawyers’ lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering showed that tumor cells switch to glucocorticoid receptor (GR) signaling to bypass anti-androgen therapy, they began putting the theory to the test at ORIC.
The resulting small molecule drug, ORIC-101, is in two Phase Ib studies — one in combination with Xtandi in prostate cancer and another paired with chemotherapy in advanced or metastatic solid tumors. If everything works well, a dose expansion portion will be appended.
As for innate resistance, the team has zeroed in on CD73, which they call “a key node in the adenosine pathway believed to play a central role in resistance to chemotherapy- and immunotherapy-based treatment regimens.” An IND for ORIC-533 is planned for next year, while other preclinical programs are in lead identification and undergoing in vitro studies.
Jacob Chacko leads the biotech as CEO, flanked by CMO Pratik Multani, a colleague from his Ignyta days. They took home compensation packages worth $672,129 and $535,156, respectively, last year, while CFO Dominic Piscitelli was rewarded $1,236,705.
Piscitelli joined last year as ORIC was completing a complete overhaul of the C-suite, bringing in Genentech vet Lori Friedman as CSO and wooing CBO Matthew Panuwat from Prothena.
The investors who participated in both rounds of its institutional financing — The Column Group (22.39%), Topspin Fund (15.56%), OrbiMed (11.67%) and EcoR1 Capital (5.83%) — remain the biggest shareholders.
Joining ORIC in the Nasdaq queue is NLS Pharmaceutics, a Swiss biotech developing controlled release versions of an old appetite suppressant called mazindol for rare diseases of the central nervous system. They are seeking $40 million.