Ex-con Sam Waksal’s startup prices IPO, joining parade of biotechs with Nasdaq news

Biotechs are coming out of the woodwork this morning to set terms for their IPOs. So far, we’ve tracked five companies raising roughly $486 million combined, including an IPO from ex-con Sam Waksal’s Kadmon spinoff MeiraGTx $MGTX.

MeriaGTx — $75 million

Sam Waksal

The company’s founder, Waksal, is a biotech exec once sentenced to prison for his insider trading conviction involving Martha Stewart. He was also the founder of Kadmon, a company he had to bail from before it could file its own IPO back in 2016. And now his brainchild — under the direction of former Kadmon commercial chief Alexandria Forbes — has filed to raise $75 million.

Alexandria Forbes

The gene therapy company said it’s priced its IPO at $15 per share, intending to use the new cash to push five of its product candidates into Phase I/II trials. The company has been building out gene therapy manufacturing operations to support its work, which is initially focused on ophthalmology, or eye diseases, where the first generation of developers found some early successes. MeiraGTx said much of the new IPO money will go toward four ophthalmology programs and one salivary gland program.

Magenta Therapeutics — $100M

Joining MeiraGTx in pricing this morning is Magenta Therapeutics $MGTA, which plans to sell at $14 to $16 per share. We covered Magenta’s IPO plans late last month, when the company had penciled in a $100 million public offering. At the range Magenta announced today, the company should raise right around that mark.

According to a statement filed with the SEC, the cash will be used to push forward Magenta’s most advanced clinical program: a cell therapy called MGTA-456. The drug, currently in Phase II trials, is being tested in patients with inherited metabolic disorders. Magenta says new IPO money would advance the treatment through a pivotal trial, pay for some commercialization activities, and also fund research into additional indications for the therapy, such as sickle cell disease and blood cancers. Beyond that, Magenta might use the new funds to back MGTA-145, a novel stem cell mobilization product candidate.

Kezar Life Scienes — $86M

Next up is Kezar Life Sciences, which expects to sell between $14 and $16 per share. This one also isn’t brand new to us, as we covered their initial S-1 filing in late May.  The company’s amended S-1 notes the max capital raised could be $85.9 million.

Kezar $KZR has plans to use the IPO money to push forward its pipeline of autoimmune drugs. Spun out of Amgen with small molecules from the plate of the former Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Kezar’s lead product is KZR-616. The drug is a selective immunoproteasome inhibitor that’s about to be tested in a Phase Ib/II trial in lupus and lupus nephritis. The IPO might also fuel KZR-616 for the treatment of idiopathic inflammatory myopathies and up to three additional autoimmune indications into Phase Ib or Phase II clinical trials.

Autolus Therapeutics — $125M

Then there’s London-based Autolus Therapeutics, which is developing cancer therapies based on CAR-T cell technology. The company plans to raise $125 million by offering 7.8 million shares between $15 and $17 per share.

The company, founded in 2014, will use a big chunk of the proceeds to get proof-of-concept in Phase I/II clinical trials of AUTO2 in multiple myeloma, AUTO3 in pediatric ALL and DLBCL, and AUTO4 in peripheral T-cell lymphoma. It hopes to advance three product candidates through later phases of clinical development and, potentially, registration, according to its F-1.

Eidos Therapeutics — $100M

Neil Kumar

Last up is San Francisco-based Eidos Therapeutics, BridgeBio’s startup focused on TTR amyloidosis. The biotech is out of the IPO chute looking at $100 million by offering 6.3 million shares at $15 to $17 per share. Insiders are buying up half.

BridgeBio chief Neil Kumar has been bullish about this particular subsidiary in the group, even though it’s up against some heavyweight players in drug development, including Alnylam, Ionis and even Pfizer.

Their drug was initially advanced by Isabella Graef at Stanford and Mamoun Alhamadsheh, the company scientific co-founders, who nailed down preclinical evidence that the drug can stabilize TTR and prevent the cascade of events that causes the disease — a disease modifying approach that will now head to the clinic.

Eidos says most of the proceeds will fund the clinical development of AG10 for the treatment of ATTR-CM and ATTR-PN, including its ongoing Phase II ATTR-CM and planned Phase III ATTR-PN clinical trials.

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Sr. Manager, Regulatory Affairs, CMC
CytomX Therapeutics San Francisco, CA
Marketing Associate - Demand Generation
Catalytic Data Science Charleston, SC
Associate Principal, Life Sciences Partnerships
Flatiron Health New York City or San Francisco

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