Andrew Hirsch, C4 Therapeutics CEO

C4's An­drew Hirsch blows up IPO to $182M, while on­colyt­ic virus up­start nabs $87M of­fer­ing

On Fri­day, Mass­a­chu­setts-based biotechs C4 Ther­a­peu­tics and On­corus be­came the lat­est to jump on­to Nas­daq.

Less than a month af­ter be­ing tapped as C4 Ther­a­peu­tics’ new CEO, Bind and Agios vet An­drew Hirsch is march­ing the biotech to Wall Street with an up­sized IPO.

C4, which ini­tial­ly filed for $100 mil­lion, priced 9.6 mil­lion shares at $19 mil­lion apiece, net­ting $182.4 mil­lion. The pro­ceeds will be used to push the com­pa­ny’s first pro­tein degra­da­tion can­di­dates in­to the clin­ic, ac­cord­ing to an S-1/A fil­ing.

C4 is work­ing on small mol­e­cule pro­tein de­graders that se­lec­tive­ly de­stroy dis­ease-caus­ing pro­teins, in­clud­ing some that it calls “un­drug­gable.” The Wa­ter­town, MA-based pre­clin­i­cal com­pa­ny has burned through $140 mil­lion. It’s eye­ing a clin­i­cal de­but for its can­di­date CFT7455 — which tar­gets IKZF1/3 in mul­ti­ple myelo­ma (MM), pe­riph­er­al T-cell lym­phoma and man­tle cell lym­phoma pa­tients — in the first half of 2021.

“We ex­pect to sub­mit an in­ves­ti­ga­tion­al new drug ap­pli­ca­tion, or IND, for this prod­uct can­di­date to the U.S. Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion, or the FDA, in the fourth quar­ter of 2020 and be­gin a first-in-hu­man Phase 1/2 clin­i­cal tri­al for this prod­uct in the first half of 2021,” the S-1/A states.

The com­pa­ny said it be­lieves the can­di­date “could even­tu­al­ly re­place ther­a­pies based in the class of mol­e­cules known as IMiDs as the as the stan­dard of care in mul­ti­ple in­di­ca­tions, in­clud­ing MM.”

C4’s sec­ond pre­clin­i­cal can­di­date, CFT8634 for syn­ovial sar­co­ma and SMAR­CB1-delet­ed sol­id tu­mors, is ex­pect­ed to en­ter a Phase I/II tri­al by the end of next year. Its BRAF V600E and RET pro­grams, which are still in dis­cov­ery, could be “in the clin­ic by the end of 2022,” ac­cord­ing to the fil­ing.

Hirsch has an op­tion on 3.5% of the com­pa­ny’s stock with “an ex­er­cise price per share equal to the pub­lic of­fer­ing price in the IPO.” That’s on top of a $560,000 base salary and bonus plan. He hails from Agios, where he served as CFO for 4 years. And be­fore that, he wrapped the Bind bank­rupt­cy.

Back in June, C4 raised $170 mil­lion, in the form of a $150 mil­lion B round and $20 mil­lion in ven­ture debt from Per­cep­tive. Co­bro, which co-led the B round, holds 6.1% of stock af­ter the of­fer­ing. Per­cep­tive has 6.3%.

C4 hit Nas­daq on Fri­day un­der the tick­er $CC­CC.

On­corus priced 5.8 mil­lion shares at $15 apiece, the mid­point of a $14 to $16 range, pulling in $87 mil­lion. The biotech had ini­tial­ly filed for an $86 mil­lion IPO in Sep­tem­ber.

The biotech’s lead can­di­date, ON­CR-177, is cur­rent­ly in Phase I de­vel­op­ment for mul­ti­ple sol­id tu­mor can­cers, in­clud­ing squa­mous cell car­ci­no­ma of the head and neck, breast can­cer and melanoma. About $32 mil­lion of IPO pro­ceeds will be used to push the can­di­date, an on­colyt­ic Her­pes Sim­plex Virus (oHSV) vi­ral im­munother­a­py, through Phase I, ac­cord­ing to the com­pa­ny’s S-1/A fil­ing.

“We ex­pect to re­port pre­lim­i­nary da­ta from this tri­al in mul­ti­ple da­ta read­outs be­gin­ning in the sec­ond half of 2021 through the sec­ond half of 2022,” the fil­ing states.

On­corus land­ed a $79.5 mil­lion Se­ries B led by Cowen and Per­cep­tive Ad­vi­sors last year for its work in the on­colyt­ic virus space. So far, the biotech has spent $96.3 mil­lion.

“Not all on­colyt­ic virus­es are the same and I think the in­vestors that came in­to this round clear­ly saw that we were much dif­fer­ent than oth­ers that are out there,” CEO Ted Ash­burn told End­points.

Cowen holds 5.5% of the biotech’s shares af­ter the of­fer­ing, ac­cord­ing to the S-1/A. “En­ti­ties af­fil­i­at­ed with MPM Cap­i­tal” have 12.4%.

On­corus will be list­ed un­der the tick­er $ON­CR.

Last week, Nas­daq count­ed $11.3 bil­lion in biotech IPOs this year. A num­ber of fac­tors, in­clud­ing the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic, con­tributed to a “per­fect storm” for an IPO boom, Nas­daq head of health­care list­ings Jor­dan Saxe told End­points News. He es­ti­mat­ed there will be 65-70 biotech IPOs by the end of the year, on the low end.

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In the context of today’s global economic environment, there is an increasing need to work smarter, faster and leaner across all facets of the life sciences industry.  This is particularly true for small and mid-sized biotech companies, many of which are facing declining valuations and competing for increasingly limited funding to propel their science forward.  It is important to recognize that within this framework, many of these smaller companies already find themselves resource-challenged to design and manage clinical studies themselves because they don’t have large teams or in-house experts in navigating the various aspects of the drug development journey. This can be particularly challenging for the most complex and difficult to treat diseases where no previous pathway exists and patients are urgently awaiting breakthroughs.

Gossamer Bio CEO Faheem Hasnain at Endpoints' #BIO22 panel (J.T. MacMillan Photography for Endpoints News)

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Kristen Hege, Bristol Myers Squibb SVP, early clinical development, oncology/hematology and cell therapy (Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

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