Deepening US footprint, AstraZeneca-partnered French biotech Innate shoots for $100M IPO
Fresh off of a 20th birthday celebration, French biotech Innate Pharma filed for a US IPO worth up to $100 million. They detailed in their filings a strategy to roll cash into preclinical work, advancing the trials for two drugs targeting blood cancer and solid tumors and further testing the checkpoint inhibitor monalizumab, while also building a commercial infrastructure to market and capitalize on their trademark leukemia drug Lumoxiti.
The immuno-oncology biotech acquired its first big drug last year as it licensed Lumoxiti from AstraZeneca. It’s the first FDA-approved drug for hairy cell leukemia in 20 years. But, as they write in their F-1, although the company will be fully responsible for marketing the drug by 2020, they “currently have no sales, marketing or commercial product distribution organization and have no experience in marketing or managing the manufacturing of products.”
Longtime AstraZeneca exec Jennifer Butler is now the head of Innate’s US operations.
The company brought in €93 million last year (around $100 million), and €59 million in the first half of 2019 (about $65 million). They have received $550 million over the last 10 years in upfront payments, milestone payments and equity investments through partnerships with AstraZeneca and Sanofi and others, and they estimate they’re eligible for up to $5.5 billion in various payments from such collaborations.
The three largest stockholders are Novo Nordisk, MedImmune (which is owned by AstraZeneca) and Bpifrance Participations, with co-founder Hervé Brailly holding a 2.1% slice. Novo acquired its 13.9% stake in exchange for a new immuno-oncology target after a vaunted Innate leukemia therapy flunked a Phase II trial. The biotech is currently listed on Euronext Paris.
As of June 30, they had $220 million in cash, cash equivalents, short term investments and non-current financial assets.
The company is working on three classes of products: broad-spectrum immune checkpoint inhibitors, tumor antigen targeting, and suppressive factors of the TME.
They are currently testing monalizumab, their lead drug, in collaboration with AstraZeneca for solid tumors, including SCCHN (head and neck) and CRC (colorectal). They partnered out that drug as part of the same deal that licensed Lumoxiti to them, with AstraZeneca exercising its $100 million for an option on the drug, with another $100 million payout at the first Phase III development and $825 million in potential milestone money.
Preliminary data from the latest 40-person expansion to a Phase II trial showed a 27.5% response rate and one complete response. Follow-up data are coming within the year.
AstraZeneca also agreed to funnel $20 million into four preclinical programs, each potentially worth $355 million, and purchased their 9.8% stake in Innate for $72 million. Innate paid $50 million for Lumoxiti.
This year, they also gained FDA fast-track status for the antibody IPH4102 for treatment-resistant Sézary syndrome, an aggressive form of lymphoma, in addition to orphan drug designations in the US and Europe.
Lumoxiti was approved under priority review after a Phase III trial demonstrated a 75% response rate, with 30% of patients responding completely. But there were less than 100 patients and the drug was notable among the half of all FDA-approved treatments that were stamped based on a single trial in 2018.