Can a biotech uni­corn break in­to the record books with a $600M IPO? Stéphane Ban­cel has a for­tune rid­ing on the an­swer

Stéphane Ban­cel’s life is about to change dra­mat­i­cal­ly.

The Mod­er­na CEO and his crew have post­ed the de­tails on their shot at the biggest biotech IPO in the in­dus­try’s his­to­ry. And Ban­cel will have a per­son­al for­tune of more than $700 mil­lion rid­ing on the out­come — if they can score a record suc­cess.

In a new fil­ing Mod­er­na $MR­NA got around to out­lin­ing who con­trols the stock at the mes­sen­ger RNA com­pa­ny, which has a val­u­a­tion scrap­ing $7.8 bil­lion un­der a bull­ish sce­nario. Flag­ship — rep­re­sent­ed by Noubar Afeyan, who seed­ed the com­pa­ny at the ven­ture group — weighs in at the top rank with 18% of the shares.

But Ban­cel isn’t that far be­hind.

Ac­cord­ing to the fil­ing, the CEO con­trols 10% of the com­pa­ny’s shares, close to 31 mil­lion shares, while the com­pa­ny preps their IPO with plans to sell about 21 mil­lion shares at a range of $22 to $24 each. That’s a re­mark­ably big stake for a biotech CEO.

Bob Langer

An­oth­er big ben­e­fi­cia­ry: MIT’s ubiq­ui­tous biotech sci­en­tist Bob Langer, with 11.7 mil­lion shares; 3.9% of the eq­ui­ty. Those shares could be worth $270 mil­lion at mid-range.

As­traZeneca, which bought in­to Mod­er­na, has an 8.4% stake in the com­pa­ny while Tim Springer fam­i­ly trusts con­trol 5.3% and Viking gets in­to the act with 5.7%.

Ban­cel and the crew have raised more than $2.6 bil­lion for their com­pa­ny — which still has a long way to go be­fore it can de­fin­i­tive­ly prove whether or not the tech­nol­o­gy works — and still have $1.2 bil­lion of that on tap. The com­pa­ny can add $536 mil­lion more if the IPO falls in­to the mid­dle of the range — no sure thing in this mar­ket — and the long list of un­der­writ­ers in­volved get in­to the act and buy up their al­lot­ments. If they can get in at the top of the range, they could score close to $600 mil­lion.

The cur­rent IPO record hold­er is Al­lo­gene, which drew $372 mil­lion ear­li­er this year for Arie Bellde­grun and David Chang. But this is a year where a flur­ry of new records are be­ing set and bro­ken. Biotech has reached fever peak. The big ques­tion is how long that can last as the mar­ket ex­pe­ri­ences some mind-bend­ing tur­bu­lence.

Im­age: Stéphane Ban­cel. MOD­ER­NA via YOUTUBE

Hal Barron, GSK

Break­ing the death spi­ral: Hal Bar­ron talks about trans­form­ing the mori­bund R&D cul­ture at GSK in a crit­i­cal year for the late-stage pipeline

Just ahead of GlaxoSmithKline’s Q2 update on Wednesday, science chief Hal Barron is making the rounds to talk up the pharma giant’s late-stage strategy as the top execs continue to woo back a deeply skeptical investor group while pushing through a whole new R&D culture.

And that’s not easy, Barron is quick to note. He told the Financial Times:

I think that culture, to some extent, is as hard, in fact even harder, than doing the science.

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Aca­dia is mak­ing the best of it, but their lat­est PhI­II Nu­plazid study is a bust

Acadia’s late-stage program to widen the commercial prospects for Nuplazid has hit a wall. The biotech reported that their Phase III ENHANCE trial flat failed. And while they $ACAD did their best to cherry pick positive data wherever they can be found, this is a clear setback for the biotech.

With close to 400 patients enrolled, researchers said the drug flunked the primary endpoint as an adjunctive therapy for patients with an inadequate response to antipsychotic therapy. The p-value was an ugly 0.0940 on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, which the company called out as a positive trend.

Their shares slid 12% on the news, good for a $426 million hit on a $3.7 billion market cap at close.

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Some Big Phar­mas stepped up their game on da­ta trans­paren­cy — but which flunked the test?

The nonprofit Bioethics International has come out with their latest scorecard on data transparency among the big biopharmas in the industry — flagging a few standouts while spotlighting some laggards who are continuing to underperform.

Now in its third year, the nonprofit created a new set of standards with Yale School of Medicine and Stanford Law School to evaluate the track record on trial registration, results reporting, publication and data-sharing practice.

Busy Gilead crew throws strug­gling biotech a life­line, with some cash up­front and hun­dreds of mil­lions in biobucks for HIV deal

Durect $DRRX got a badly needed shot in the arm Monday morning as Gilead’s busy BD team lined up access to its extended-release platform tech for HIV and hepatitis B.

Gilead, a leader in the HIV sector, is paying a modest $25 million in cash for the right to jump on the platform at Durect, which has been using its technology to come up with an extended-release version of bupivacaine. The FDA rejected that in 2014, but Durect has been working on a comeback.

In­tec blitzed by PhI­II flop as lead pro­gram fails to beat Mer­ck­'s stan­dard com­bo for Parkin­son’s

Intec Pharma’s $NTEC lead drug slammed into a brick wall Monday morning. The small-cap Israeli biotech reported that its lead program — coming off a platform designed to produce a safer, more effective oral drug for Parkinson’s — failed the Phase III at the primary endpoint.

Researchers at Intec, which has already seen its share price collapse over the past few months, says that its Accordion Pill-Carbidopa/Levodopa failed to prove superior to Sinemet in reducing daily ‘off’ time. 

Cel­gene racks up third Ote­zla ap­proval, heat­ing up talks about who Bris­tol-My­ers will sell to

Whoever is taking Otezla off Bristol-Myers Squibb’s hands will have one more revenue stream to boast.

The drug — a rising star in Celgene’s pipeline that generated global sales of $1.6 billion last year — is now OK’d to treat oral ulcers associated with Behçet’s disease, a common symptom for a rare inflammatory disorder. This marks the third FDA approval for the PDE4 inhibitor since 2014, when it was greenlighted for plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

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Francesco De Rubertis

Medicxi is rolling out its biggest fund ever to back Eu­rope's top 'sci­en­tists with strange ideas'

Francesco De Rubertis built Medicxi to be the kind of biotech venture player he would have liked to have known back when he was a full time scientist.

“When I was a scientist 20 years ago I would have loved Medicxi,’ the co-founder tells me. It’s the kind of place run by and for investigators, what the Medicxi partner calls “scientists with strange ideas — a platform for the drug hunter and scientific entrepreneur. That’s what I wanted when I was a scientist.”

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Af­ter a decade, Vi­iV CSO John Pot­tage says it's time to step down — and he's hand­ing the job to long­time col­league Kim Smith

ViiV Healthcare has always been something unique in the global drug industry.

Owned by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer — with GSK in the lead as majority owner — it was created 10 years ago in a time of deep turmoil for the field as something independent of the pharma giants, but with access to lots of infrastructural support on demand. While R&D at the mother ship inside GSK was souring, a razor-focused ViiV provided a rare bright spot, challenging Gilead on a lucrative front in delivering new combinations that require fewer therapies with a more easily tolerated regimen.

They kept a massive number of people alive who would otherwise have been facing a death sentence. And they made money.

And throughout, John Pottage has been the chief scientific and chief medical officer.

Until now.

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Vlad Coric (Biohaven)

In an­oth­er dis­ap­point­ment for in­vestors, FDA slaps down Bio­haven’s re­vised ver­sion of an old ALS drug

Biohaven is at risk of making a habit of disappointing its investors.

Late Friday the biotech $BHVN reported that the FDA had rejected its application for riluzole, an old drug that they had made over into a sublingual formulation that dissolves under the tongue. According to Biohaven, the FDA had a problem with the active ingredient used in a bioequivalence study back in 2017, which they got from the Canadian drugmaker Apotex.

Apotex, though, has been a disaster ground. The manufacturer voluntarily yanked the ANDAs on 31 drugs — in late 2017 — after the FDA came across serious manufacturing deficiencies at their plants in India. A few days ago, the FDA made it official.

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