Days after sealing Sanofi pact, Kymera beats a path to the Nasdaq with $100M IPO pitch
Back in March, when Kymera Therapeutics closed $102 million in Series C funding led by Biotechnology Value Fund and Redmile Group, CEO Nello Mainolfi noted the protein degradation player was “at the cusp of transitioning” into a fully integrated R&D company. Five months and a major Sanofi pact later, he’s back asking for another little push to get there.
Kymera has penciled in $100 million in its first IPO pitch — although given the public market’s seemingly insatiable appetite for biotechs these days the final figure is anyone’s guess.
The rising tide is apparently floating all boats, too. GoodRx, which has thrived on helping more than 10 million US patients navigate the labyrinthine drug pricing system, is reportedly looking to file an IPO. Reuters noted that the company was valued at $2.8 billion in 2018 by a private equity backer. The listing could come this year or early 2021, according to sources.
Sticking to “high impact targets that have been elusive to conventional modalities,” Kymera’s trio of initial programs are designed to degrade IRAK4, IRAKIMiD and STAT3, respectively. These are critical signalling nodes in the interleukin-1 receptor/toll-like receptor (IL-1R/TLR) and janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription, or JAK/STAT, pathways.
Leveraging E3 ligases to tag the target protein for disposal, Kymera’s drugs promise to stem diseases by completely removing the proteins causing them.
Proceeds from the IPO are expected to fund the development of all three through the end of Phase I. The first filing, for an IRAK4 degrader dubbed KT-474, is slated to be dispatched in the first half of 2021, with the others to follow later in the year.
As a pioneer in a field where money has been free flowing, Kymera will join two other protein degradation specialists on the Nasdaq. But while it shares a focus on cancer with Arvinas and Nurix, the biotech has also ventured out to inflammatory and autoimmune diseases as well as fibrosis.
“Obviously when you’re working outside of targeted oncology, you actually bring a lot more complexity given that you’re going after a variety of cell population and not just the one cancer cell population,” Mainolfi previously told Endpoints News.
But over the years Kymera has managed to go deep. Burning through $108.1 million, they profiled around 600 E3 ligases to learn about the expression and distribution while generating a toolbox of ligands to bind to them. Both Vertex and Sanofi have been attracted to the platform, providing $220 million in collective upfront.
Sanofi, in particular, is keen to apply the tools to the chronic inflammatory disease space, starting with IRAK4 — where the pharma giant sees an opportunity to replicate the blockbuster success of Dupixent in dermatology. Once Cambridge, MA-based Kymera wraps up first-in-human testing, Sanofi would led the Phase II but the biotech retains the option to share US development costs and revenue.
In addition to the named lead candidate, it disclosed in a filing, they have three backup degraders directed against IRAK4.
Atlas Venture, represented by co-founder and chairman Bruce Booth on the board, still holds the largest chunk of stock at 26.76%. Vertex is next on the roster with 7.31%, followed by Lilly Ventures Fund (6.47%) and Pfizer (5.18%). The other top VC investors are 6 Dimensions and Bessemer Venture Partners.
The company also revealed that Laurent Audoly was paid $1.1 million for his final year as president and CEO before handing over to Mainolfi in November 2019.