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.

Nel­lo Main­olfi

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.

Biotech and Big Phar­ma: A blue­print for a suc­cess­ful part­ner­ship

Strategic partnerships have long been an important contributor to how drugs are discovered and developed. For decades, big pharma companies have been forming alliances with biotech innovators to increase R&D productivity, expand geographical reach and better manage late-stage commercialization costs.

Noël Brown, Managing Director and Head of Biotechnology Investment Banking, and Greg Wiederrecht, Ph.D., Managing Director in the Global Healthcare Investment Banking Group at RBC Capital Markets, are no strangers to the importance of these tie-ups. Noël has over 20 years of investment banking experience in the industry. Before moving to the banking world in 2015, Greg was the Vice President and Head of External Scientific Affairs (ESA) at Merck, where he was responsible for the scientific assessment of strategic partnership opportunities worldwide.

No­var­tis' sec­ond at­tempt to repli­cate a stun­ning can­cer re­sult falls flat

Novartis’ hopes of turning one of the most surprising trial data points of the last decade into a lung cancer drug has taken another setback.

The Swiss pharma announced Monday that its IL-1 inhibitor canakinumab did not significantly extend the lives or slow the disease progression of patients with previously untreated locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer when compared to standard of-care alone.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 120,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Credit: Shutterstock

How Chi­na turned the ta­bles on bio­phar­ma's glob­al deal­mak­ing

Fenlai Tan still gets chills thinking about the darkest day of his life.

Three out of eight lung cancer patients who received a tyrosine kinase inhibitor developed by his company, Betta Pharma, died in the span of a month. Tan, the chief medical officer, was summoned to Peking Union Medical College Hospital, where the head of the clinical trial department told him that the trial investigators would be conducting an autopsy to see if the patients had died of the disease — they were all very sick by the time they enrolled — or of interstitial lung disease, a deadly side effect tied to the TKI class that’s been reported in Japan.

James Peyer, Cambrian CEO

Brent Saun­ders joins $100M Se­ries C for a com­pa­ny out to be the Bridge­Bio of ag­ing

About a year ago, James Peyer, a CEO and co-founder of the little known longevity biotech Cambrian Biopharma, was trying to find some R&D talent last year when he met with more than a bit of experience in that department: David Nicholson, the former R&D chief of the erstwhile pharma giant Allergan.

It turned out Nicholson already had an interest in Peyer’s field. In their Allergan days, he and COO Brent Saunders held weekly meetups where they tried to figure out how to take the company’s dominance in aesthetics — which, until recently, was often what people meant by anti-aging science — and expertise with more traditional drug development, and use it to make drugs that extend people’s lifespan.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 120,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Ugur Sahin, AP Images

As pres­sure to share tech­nol­o­gy mounts, BioN­Tech se­lects Rwan­da for lat­est vac­cine site

BioNTech’s first mRNA-based vaccine site in Africa will call Rwanda home, and construction is set to start in mid-2022, the company announced Tuesday at a public health forum.

The German company signed a memorandum of understanding, after a meeting between Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Daniel Ngamije, Senegal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Aïssata Tall Sall, and senior BioNTech officials. Construction plans have been finalized, and assets have been ordered. The agreement will help bring end-to-end manufacturing to Africa, and as many as several hundred million doses of vaccines per year, though initial production will be more modest.

No­var­tis dumps AveX­is pro­gram for Rett syn­drome af­ter fail­ing re­peat round of pre­clin­i­cal test­ing

Say goodbye to AVXS-201.

The Rett syndrome gene therapy drug made by AveXis — the biotech that was bought, kept separate, then renamed and finally absorbed by Novartis into its R&D division — has been dropped by the biopharma.

In Novartis’ third quarter financial report, the pharma had found that preclinical data did not support development of the gene therapy into IND-enabling trials and beyond. The announcement comes a year after Novartis told the Rett Society how excited it was by the drug — and its potential benefits and uses.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 120,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Katie Fanning, Mozart Therapeutics CEO

Mozart Ther­a­peu­tics makes its of­fi­cial de­but, jump­ing in­to the hot Treg R&D field with some big-name in­vestors back­ing it

Treg cells have been getting more and more attention recently among autoimmune specialists. There’s been Jeff Bluestone’s Sonoma, the $157 million launch of GentiBio this summer and Egle Therapeutics — which launched just last week — to name a few.

Now, there’s a new Treg player jumping in that wants to distinguish itself in the market: Mozart Therapeutics. Today, the biotech is emerging from stealth in its official debut with a $55 million Series A — with a bunch of A-list Big Pharma names on board a syndicate led by ARCH.

Vas Narasimhan, Novartis CEO (Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

With San­doz con­tin­u­ing to drag on No­var­tis, Vas Narasimhan says he may fi­nal­ly be ready for a sale or spin­off

After years of rehab work aimed at getting Sandoz in fighting trim to compete in a market overshadowed by declining prices, CEO Vas Narasimhan took a big step toward possibly selling or spinning off the giant generic drug player.

The pharma giant flagged plans to launch a strategic review of the business in its Q3 update, noting that “options range from retaining the business to separation.”

Analysts have been poking and prodding Novartis execs for years now as Narasimhan attempted to remodel a business that has been a drag on its performance during most of his reign in the CEO suite. The former R&D chief has made it well known that he’s devoted to the innovative meds side of the business, where they see the greatest potential for growth.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 120,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

FDA is much worse than its reg­u­la­to­ry peers at proac­tive­ly dis­clos­ing da­ta, re­searchers find

The European Medicines Agency and Health Canada continue to outpace the FDA when it comes to proactively releasing data on drugs and biologics the agency has reviewed, leading to further questions of why the American agency can’t be more transparent.

In a study published recently in the Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics, Yale and other academic lawyers and researchers found that between 2016 and April 2021, the EMA proactively released data for 123 unique medical products, while Health Canada proactively released data for 73 unique medical products between 2019 and April 2021. What’s more, the EMA and Health Canada didn’t proactively release the same data on the same drugs. In stark contrast, the FDA in 2018 only proactively disclosed data supporting one drug that was approved that year.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 120,700+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.