Bridge­Bio takes crown for biggest biotech IPO of 2019, as fel­low uni­corn Adap­tive rais­es of­fer­ing size and price

Bridge­Bio Phar­ma and Adap­tive Biotech­nolo­gies have not just up­sized IPO of­fer­ings — the pair of uni­corns have al­so raised their of­fer­ing prices above the range, haul­ing in a com­bined $648.5 mil­lion.

Neil Ku­mar End­points

Neil Ku­mar’s Bridge­Bio Phar­ma, found­ed in 2015, has a sta­ble of com­pa­nies fo­cused on dis­eases that are dri­ven by de­fects in a sin­gle gene — en­com­pass­ing der­ma­tol­ogy, car­di­ol­o­gy, neu­rol­o­gy, en­docrinol­o­gy, re­nal dis­ease, and oph­thal­mol­o­gy — and can­cers with clear ge­net­ic dri­vers. The start­up mill birthed a pletho­ra of firms such as Ei­dos, Navire, QED Ther­a­peu­tics and Pelle­Pharm, which func­tion as its sub­sidiaries.

The Pa­lo Al­to, Cal­i­for­nia-based com­pa­ny now has 16 pro­grams, of which 4 are in or ap­proach­ing late-stage de­vel­op­ment. The com­pa­ny, in which KKR owns a 10% stake, raised about $299 mil­lion in a fresh round of fi­nanc­ing in Jan­u­ary.

Af­ter en­hanc­ing the num­ber of shares in its IPO to 20 mil­lion from 15 mil­lion, priced at a range be­tween $14 to $16, to raise rough­ly $300 mil­lion — Bridge­Bio was able to push the price to $17 per share. This brings the com­pa­ny’s pro­ceeds to the neigh­bor­hood of $348.5 mil­lion as it de­buts on the Nas­daq on Thurs­day un­der the sym­bol $BBIO — sur­pass­ing the biggest IPO haul this year by Gos­samer Bio. Last year, Mod­er­na Ther­a­peu­tics set an in­dus­try record with a $604 mil­lion IPO.

Once the stock hit, things be­gan to get very in­ter­est­ing. The stock opened at $30, rose, fell and as of ear­ly af­ter­noon was trad­ing up 65%.

Har­lan Robins Adap­tive

Im­munose­quenc­ing com­pa­ny Adap­tive Biotech­nolo­gies, which al­ready has two com­mer­cial prod­ucts, al­so lift­ed its IPO ex­pec­ta­tions on Wednes­day.

Orig­i­nal­ly, Adap­tive was look­ing to raise $200 mil­lion by of­fer­ing 12.5 mil­lion shares at a price range of $15 to $17. The com­pa­ny, set to de­but on Thurs­day on the Nas­daq un­der the sym­bol $ADPT, has now raised $300 mil­lion by of­fer­ing 15 mil­lion shares for $20 per share.

They did even bet­ter than Bridge­Bio af­ter the open. In ear­ly af­ter­noon the stock was up 95%, trad­ing above $28 a share.

Chad Robins Adap­tive 

The com­pa­ny was cre­at­ed in 2009 on the ba­sis of tech­nol­o­gy de­vel­oped by Har­lan Robins at the Fred Hutch Can­cer Re­search In­sti­tute. Robins, who serves as Adap­tive’s chief sci­en­tif­ic of­fi­cer, spawned the com­pa­ny with his broth­er Chad Robins, and the two are set to tar­get what they es­ti­mate is a $48 bil­lion mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ty which en­com­pass­es read­ing the ge­net­ic code of in­di­vid­ual pa­tients’ im­mune sys­tems to tai­lor treat­ments.

Last year, the Seat­tle-based com­pa­ny joined forces with Mi­crosoft, to de­vel­op a prod­uct de­signed to en­able ear­ly de­tec­tion of var­i­ous dis­eases with a sin­gle blood test. It al­so has an­oth­er big-tick­et pact with Roche’s Genen­tech, which paid $300 mil­lion in cash and up to $1.8 bil­lion in mile­stones to iso­late T cell re­cep­tors that can tar­get neoanti­gens pro­duced by a tu­mor.

So­cial im­age: Neil Ku­mar. End­points

It’s fi­nal­ly over: Bio­gen, Ei­sai scrap big Alzheimer’s PhI­I­Is af­ter a pre­dictable BACE cat­a­stro­phe rais­es safe­ty fears

Months after analysts and investors called on Biogen and Eisai to scrap their BACE drug for Alzheimer’s and move on in the wake of a string of late-stage failures and rising safety fears, the partners have called it quits. And they said they were dropping the drug — elenbecestat — after the independent monitoring board raised concerns about…safety.

We don’t know exactly what researchers found in this latest catastrophe, but the companies noted in their release that investigators had determined that the drug was flunking the risk/benefit analysis.

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It's not per­fect, but it's a good start: FDA pan­elists large­ly en­dorse Aim­mune's peanut al­ler­gy ther­a­py

Two days after a fairly benign review from FDA staff, an independent panel of experts largely endorsed the efficacy and safety of Aimmune’s peanut allergy therapy, laying the groundwork for approval with a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS).

Traditionally, peanut allergies are managed by avoidance, but the threat of accidental exposure cannot be nullified. Some allergists have devised a way to dose patients off-label with peanut protein derived from supermarket products to wean them off their allergies. But the idea behind Aimmune’s product was to standardize the peanut protein, and track the process of desensitization — so when accidental exposure in the real world invariably occurs, patients are less likely to experience a life-threatening allergic reaction.

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Lisa M. DeAngelis, MSKCC

MSK picks brain can­cer ex­pert Lisa DeAn­ge­lis as its next CMO — fol­low­ing José Basel­ga’s con­tro­ver­sial ex­it

It’s official. Memorial Sloan Kettering has picked a brain cancer expert as its new physician-in-chief and CMO, replacing José Baselga, who left under a cloud after being singled out by The New York Times and ProPublica for failing to properly air his lucrative industry ties.

His replacement, who now will be in charge of MSK’s cutting-edge research work as well as the cancer care delivered by hundreds of practitioners, is Lisa M. DeAngelis. DeAngelis had been chair of the neurology department and co-founder of MSK’s brain tumor center and was moved in to the acting CMO role in the wake of Baselga’s departure.

Penn team adapts CAR-T tech, reengi­neer­ing mouse cells to treat car­diac fi­bro­sis

After establishing itself as one of the pioneer research centers in the world for CAR-T cancer therapies, creating new attack vehicles to eradicate cancer cells, a team at Penn Medicine has begun the tricky transition of using the basic technology for heart repair work.

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Tal Zaks. Moderna

The mR­NA uni­corn Mod­er­na has more ear­ly-stage hu­man da­ta it wants to show off — reach­ing new peaks in prov­ing the po­ten­tial

The whole messenger RNA field has attracted billions of dollars in public and private investor cash gambled on the prospect of getting in on the ground floor. And this morning Boston-based Moderna, one of the leaders in the field, wants to show off a few more of the cards it has to play to prove to you that they’re really in the game.

The whole hand, of course, has yet to be dealt. And there’s no telling who gets to walk with a share of the pot. But any cards on display at this point — especially after being accused of keeping its deck under lock and key — will attract plenty of attention from some very wary, and wired, observers.

“In terms of the complexity and unmet need,” says Tal Zaks, the chief medical officer, “this is peak for what we’ve accomplished.”

Moderna has two Phase I studies it wants to talk about now.

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Sanofi takes a $260M hit to ex­tri­cate it­self from a dis­as­trous al­liance with Lex­i­con

Sanofi spent $300 million in cash to get into a $1.7 billion alliance with Lexicon on their SGLT1/2 diabetes drug sotagliflozin. And now that the drug has been spurned by the FDA after burning through a program that provided mixed late-stage data and a late shot at a last-place finish, the French pharma giant is forking over another $260 million to get out of the deal.

Sanofi’s unhappiness was already apparent when the company — now under new CEO Paul Hudson — posted a statement back in July that they were dropping the deal. But it wasn’t that simple. 

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Rit­ter bombs fi­nal PhI­II for sole lac­tose in­tol­er­ance drug — shares plum­met

More than two years ago Ritter Pharmaceuticals managed to find enough silver lining in its Phase IIb/III study — after missing the top-line mark — to propel its lactose intolerance toward a confirmatory trial. But as it turned out, the enthusiasm only set the biotech and its investors up to be sorely disappointed.

This time around there’s little left to salvage. Not only did RP-G28 fail to beat placebo in reducing lactose intolerance symptoms, patients in the treatment group actually averaged a smaller improvement. On a composite score measuring symptoms like abdominal pain, cramping, bloating and gas, patients given the drug had a mean reduction of 3.159 while the placebo cohort saw a 3.420 drop on average (one-sided p-value = 0.0106).

Ear­ly snap­shot of Ad­verum's eye gene ther­a­py sparks con­cern about vi­sion loss

An early-stage update on Adverum Biotechnologies’ intravitreal gene therapy has triggered investor concern, after patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) saw their vision deteriorate, despite signs that the treatment is improving retinal anatomy.

Adverum, on Wednesday, unveiled 24-week data from the OPTIC trial of its experimental therapy, ADVM-022, in six patients who have been administered with one dose of the therapy. On average, patients in the trial had severe disease with an average of 6.2 anti-VEGF injections in the eight months prior to screening and an average annualized injection frequency of 9.3 injections.

Alex Ar­faei trades his an­a­lyst's post for a new role as biotech VC; Sanofi vet heads to Vi­for

Too often, Alex Arfaei arrived too late. 

An analyst at BMO Capital Markets, he’d meet with biotech or pharmaceutical heads for their IPO or secondary funding and his brain, trained on a biology degree and six years at Merck and Endo, would spring with questions: Why this biomarker? Why this design? Why not this endpoint? Not that he could do anything about it. These execs were coming for clinical money; their decisions had been made and finalized long ago.