Fast-moving Sienna Bio vaults from buyout to B round to $75M IPO

Robert Nelson, Arch Ventures

Sienna Biopharmaceuticals has been moving fast over the past 12 months.

A year ago the company completed a $46 million Series A, then five months later bagged the UK biotech Creabilis in a deal heralded only by its total package value of $150 million. In April, they followed up with a $40 million B round.

Now the Westlake Village, CA-based biotech wants to go after a $75 million IPO, hoping that investors will buy into their promise of a two-pronged development strategy operated by a group of industry pros with deep experience in the field.

In their S-1 filed July 3rd, Sienna revealed that its acquisition of Creabilis required only $200,000 in cash, throwing in preferred shares valued at $11.2 million plus development milestones of $58 million and sales milestones of $80 million more.

That deal netted SNA-120 and SNA-125, two transdermal therapies for inflammatory skin diseases and pruritus. And there are two other drugs from their “Topical Photoparticle Therapy platform” now in pivotal trials for acne and hair reduction. Sienna has been working on a topical solution that can be managed by laser tech and targets microstructures in the skin. The big idea here is that the right tech can eliminate acne and permanently remove hair.

Robert Nelsen represents the interests of Arch Ventures, which holds about 24% of the company stock. Partner Fund Management owns 9.5%. And stockholders stand to reap some substantial “success payments” outlined in late 2015. Those payments include up to $15 million for Todd Harris, who now runs corporate development.

The company is helmed by Frederick Beddingfield III, the former CMO at Kythera. He became CEO at Sienna in early 2016.

This is just the latest in a new wave of biotech IPOs that has been hitting the street as the industry starts to find a growing market for high-risk shares.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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