Fast ex-Flexus team takes Arcus to a quick $100M IPO to advance I/O pipeline
The fast-moving team at Arcus has filed for an $100 million IPO, looking to build its immuno-oncology pipeline of small molecules and antibody compounds under the leadership of co-founder Terry Rosen.
Expected to fund the clinical development of lead product candidates AB928 and AB122 into 2020, this round of fundraising follows a $107 million Series C crossover completed just last November. AB928 is a dual adenosine receptor antagonist, while AB122 is a PD-1 antibody. Arcus had scheduled a Phase I/II trial to test the combo in cancer patients for the first half of this year.
The speed at which Arcus has gathered cash is perhaps no surprise considering that CEO Rosen is famous for taking Flexus Bio from inception to a $1.25 billion Bristol-Myers Squibb buyout in less than two years. That history also means Rosen and Juan Jaen, co-founder and president of the company, are still linked to litigation with Incyte, which claimed Flexus’ star IDO drug was essentially stolen by a departing former staffer.
But that hasn’t stopped Arcus from raising $227 million in three rounds since 2015, and expanding the team to 83 full-time employees. It has also attracted big name investors including Stanford University, Novartis and Taiho Ventures. Google’s GV, The Column Group and Foresite are among the largest shareholders of the Hayward, CA-based startup, each holding more than 5% of its stock.
The company plans to list under the symbol $RCUS.
Arcus made it clear in the S-1 that the money they have won’t be enough to fund any of their drugs through regulatory approval — they will need a lot more to complete their development and commercialization. Some of the proceeds, though, will help advance preclinical programs such as AB680 (CD73 inhibitor) and AB154 (anti-TIGIT antibody).