Four biotechs and a Matthew Ro­den-led SPAC price IPOs, rais­ing a com­bined $528M

Four more biotechs and a SPAC led by Bris­tol My­ers Squibb vet Matthew Ro­den have priced IPOs, clos­ing out an­oth­er busy week on Wall Street.

To­geth­er, Prax­is Pre­ci­sion Med­i­cines, Tar­sus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, Ali­gos Ther­a­peu­tics, Kiromic Bio­Phar­ma and Turmer­ic Ac­qui­si­tion — MPM’s blank check com­pa­ny — have raised $528 mil­lion on their pub­lic de­buts.

Prax­is Pre­ci­sion Med­i­cines burst out of stealth mode with $100 mil­lion in May, quick­ly sweep­ing up an­oth­er $110 mil­lion in Ju­ly. And on Thurs­day, it raised $190 mil­lion — near­ly dou­ble its orig­i­nal goal — in an up­sized IPO. The Cam­bridge, MA-based biotech $PRAX of­fered 10 mil­lion shares at $19 apiece, up from its ini­tial of­fer of 7.4 mil­lion shares at a $17 to $18 range.

Be­tween $70 to $80 mil­lion are tagged for clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment PRAX-114, the com­pa­ny’s lead CNS can­di­date. The mon­ey will fund a fu­ture Phase II/III tri­al in ma­jor de­pres­sive dis­or­der, and com­ple­tion of an on­go­ing Phase IIa. An­oth­er $30 to $40 mil­lion will go to­ward an on­go­ing Phase IIa study of PRAX-944 in es­sen­tial tremor. And $20 to $30 mil­lion should see a Phase I tri­al of PRAX-562 — Prax­is’ can­di­date for rare CNS dis­or­ders like se­vere pe­di­atric epilep­sy and adult cephal­gia — through com­ple­tion.

Since its launch, Prax­is has burned through more than $104 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the S-1/A. Black­stone holds 23.1% of the shares, fol­lowed by Even­tide with 9.4%, Vi­da Ven­tures with 7.3%, and No­vo Hold­ings with 6.6%.

“We ex­pect mul­ti­ple topline clin­i­cal tri­al read­outs from our three clin­i­cal-stage prod­uct can­di­dates pri­or to the end of 2021 and an­tic­i­pate the launch of a new clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment pro­gram in 2021,” the S-1/A states.

Tar­sus Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals al­so came in slight­ly above its ini­tial goal, rais­ing $88 mil­lion by pric­ing 5.5 mil­lion shares at $16 apiece. The Irvine, CA-based biotech $TARS filed for an $86 mil­lion IPO on Sept 25. It up­sized its of­fer by 575,000 shares, ac­cord­ing to an SEC fil­ing.

A ma­jor­i­ty of the pro­ceeds — about $65 mil­lion — will be poured in­to the com­pa­ny’s lead oph­thalmic can­di­date TP-03. The drug is cur­rent­ly in a Phase IIb/III tri­al for De­mod­ex ble­phar­i­tis, a con­di­tion char­ac­ter­ized by eye in­flam­ma­tion and caused by the in­fes­ta­tion of mites. Tar­sus ex­pects a Phase III launch in 2021. The re­main­ing funds may go to the biotech’s oth­er can­di­dates, TP-04 and TP-05, which it plans to en­ter in Phase I/II tri­als for rosacea and Ly­me dis­ease in 2021, re­spec­tive­ly.

Bobak Aza­mi­an

Since its found­ing in 2017, Tar­sus has spent a to­tal of $11.2 mil­lion. Vi­vo Cap­i­tal holds 15.77% of shares, while CEO Bobak Aza­mi­an has a 9.7% piece of the pie.

Ali­gos Ther­a­peu­tics $AL­GS filed for a $100 mil­lion IPO back in Sep­tem­ber to de­vel­op its chron­ic he­pati­tis B (CHB) and NASH ther­a­pies. Now the South San Fran­cis­co, CA-based biotech is rak­ing in $150 mil­lion through 10 mil­lion shares priced at $15 apiece, the mid­point of a $14 to $16 range.

About $40 to $43 mil­lion will go to­ward the com­pa­ny’s Phase I STOPS can­di­date ALG-010133, short for S-anti­gen trans­port-in­hibit­ing oligonu­cleotide poly­mer. An­oth­er $35 mil­lion to $38 mil­lion will fund an up­com­ing Phase I tri­al of its CAM (cap­sid as­sem­bly mod­u­la­tor) can­di­date ALG-000184. Twelve to $14 mil­lion will go to the NASH THR-b can­di­date ALG-055009. And Ali­gos ear­marked $12 to $15 mil­lion and $12 to $14 mil­lion for its CHB can­di­dates ALG-020572 and ALG-125097, re­spec­tive­ly.

The two-year-old biotech has spent $107 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to its S-1/A. CEO Lawrence Blatt, for­mer head of in­fec­tious dis­ease at Janssen, holds 6.2% of shares. Roche Fi­nance, Ver­sant Ven­tures and Bak­er Broth­ers Ad­vi­sors each have 8.4% of the stock, fol­lowed by Vi­vo with 8.1%, No­vo with 6.6% and Welling­ton Man­age­ment with 5.2%.

Turmer­ic Ac­qui­si­tion, a blank check com­pa­ny formed by MPM Cap­i­tal, end­ed up down­siz­ing its of­fer from 10 mil­lion units to 8.5 mil­lion. The SPAC priced units at $10 each, rais­ing $85 mil­lion.

Matthew Ro­den

The com­pa­ny $TMP­MU is run by CEO Luke Evnin, who co-found­ed MPM Cap­i­tal in 1997, and chair­man Ro­den, who had a hand in Bris­tol My­ers Squibbs’ Cel­gene buy­out be­fore re­cent­ly join­ing MPM.

The duo — along­side the rest of the firm — now has two years to se­lect the pri­vate com­pa­ny to ride the shell of Turmer­ic to Nas­daq and in­her­it the in­vest­ment.

“We have not se­lect­ed any busi­ness com­bi­na­tion tar­get and we have not, nor has any­one on our be­half, ini­ti­at­ed any sub­stan­tive dis­cus­sions, di­rect­ly or in­di­rect­ly, with any busi­ness com­bi­na­tion tar­get,” the SPAC’s S-1/A states.

Kiromic Bio­Phar­ma $KRBP priced its shares at $12 apiece on Fri­day — the low end of its $12 to $14 range. The Hous­ton, TX-based biotech of­fered 1.3 mil­lion shares, rais­ing $15 mil­lion. The com­pa­ny is us­ing AI to de­vel­op can­cer ther­a­pies, and says the IPO funds will push its Alex­is iso­form mesothe­lin (for EOC) and PD-1 can­di­dates in­to the clin­ic.

By the end of last month, 56 biotechs had filed for IPOs this year — top­ping Brad Lon­car’s count of 47 last year. Both SQZ Biotech and Lux Health Tech Ac­qui­si­tion, a SPAC formed by Lux Cap­i­tal, filed to go pub­lic on Mon­day. SQZ pro­posed a $75 mil­lion raise to de­vel­op its cell ther­a­pies, while Lux is look­ing to nab $300 mil­lion. On Tues­day, Co­di­ak’s shares priced in at $15 apiece, net­ting $83 mil­lion.

A new era of treat­ment: How bio­mark­ers are chang­ing the way we think about can­cer

AJ Patel was recovering from a complicated brain surgery when his oncologist burst into the hospital room yelling, “I’ve got some really great news for you!”

For two years, Patel had been going from doctor to doctor trying to diagnose his wheezing, only to be dealt the devastating news that he had stage IV lung cancer and only six months to live. And then they found the brain tumors.

“What are you talking about?” Patel asked. He had never seen an oncologist so happy.

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ProFound Therapeutics founding team

Flag­ship's lat­est biotech could turn some of the thou­sands of new pro­teins it dis­cov­ered in­to ther­a­pies — and it has $75M to start

Flagship Pioneering, the incubator of Moderna and dozens of other biotechs, says it has landed upon tens of thousands of previously undiscovered human proteins. The VC shop wants to potentially turn them into therapeutics.

Like other drug developers that have turned proteins into therapeutics (think insulin for diabetes), Flagship’s latest creation, ProFound Therapeutics, wants to tap into this new trove of proteins as part of its mission to treat indications ranging from rare diseases to cancer to immunological diseases.

Richard Silverman, Akava Therapeutics founder and Northwestern professor

This time around, Lyri­ca's in­ven­tor is de­vel­op­ing his North­west­ern dis­cov­er­ies at his own biotech

Richard Silverman was left in the dark for the last five years of clinical development of the drug he discovered. The Northwestern University professor found out about the first approval of Lyrica, in the last few days of 2004, like most other people: in the newspaper.

What became one of Pfizer’s top-selling meds, at $5 billion in 2017 global sales before losing patent protection in 2019, started slipping out of his hands when Northwestern licensed it out to Parke-Davis, one of two biotechs that showed interest in developing the drug in the pre-email days, when the university’s two-person tech transfer team had to ship out letters to garner industry appetite.

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David Ricks, Eli Lilly CEO (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Eli Lil­ly set to in­vest $2.1B in home state man­u­fac­tur­ing boost

Eli Lilly is looking to expand its footprint in its home Hoosier State by making a major investment in manufacturing.

The pharma is investing $2.1 billion in two new manufacturing sites at Indiana’s LEAP Lebanon Innovation and Research District in Boone County, northwest of Lilly’s headquarters in Indianapolis.

The two new facilities will expand Lilly’s manufacturing network for active ingredients and new therapeutic modalities, including genetic medicines, according to a press release.

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Up­dat­ed: US sees spike in Paxlovid us­age as Mer­ck­'s mol­nupi­ravir and As­traZeneca's Evusheld are slow­er off the shelf

New data from HHS show that more than 162,000 courses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 antiviral Paxlovid were administered across the US over the past week, continuing a streak of increased usage of the pill, and signaling not only rising case numbers but more awareness of how to access it.

In comparison to this week, about 670,000 courses of the Pfizer pill have been administered across the first five months since Paxlovid has been on the US market, averaging about 33,000 courses administered per week in that time.

Pfiz­er and CD­MOs ramp up Paxlovid man­u­fac­tur­ing with Kala­ma­zoo plant ex­pan­sion lead­ing the way

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve, pharma companies and manufacturers are exploring how to step up production on antivirals.

Pfizer is planning to expand its Kalamazoo-area facility to increase manufacturing capabilities for the oral Covid-19 antiviral Paxlovid, according to a report from Michigan-based news site MLive. The expansion of the facility, which serves as Pfizer’s largest manufacturing location, is expected to create hundreds of “high-skilled” STEM jobs, MLive reported. No details about the project’s cost and timeline have been released, but according to MLive, Pfizer will announce the details of the expansion at some point in early June.

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FDA spells out the rules and re­stric­tions for states seek­ing to im­port drugs from Cana­da

The FDA is offering more of an explanation of the guardrails around its program that may soon allow states to import prescription drugs in some select circumstances from Canada, but only if such imports will result in significant cost reductions for consumers.

While the agency has yet to sign off on any of the 5 state plans in the works so far, and PhRMA’s suit to block the Trump-era rule allowing such imports is stalled, the new Q&A guidance spells out the various restrictions that states will have to abide by, potentially signaling that a state approval is coming.

Simba Gill, CEO of Evelo Biosciences

While down 87% YOY, Evelo gets Flag­ship and oth­ers to in­fuse new cap­i­tal for come­back hope

Just four years after Flagship spinout Evelo Biosciences went public in an IPO worth $85 million, the biotech has seen its share price tank from $13 a share this time last year (ultimately reaching a peak of over $17) to now under $1.50. And today, it looks like Flagship still thinks the fledging biotech, in a down market, is still worth something after initial pre-IPO backing from the likes of Google’s GV, Celgene, Mayo Clinic and Alexandria Venture.

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Peter Thompson, Terremoto Biosciences interim CEO

For­mer Prin­cip­ia team looks to shake up co­va­lent small mol­e­cules again, this time at 'earthquake' scale

Terremoto Biosciences goes back a long ways, in a sense, to about a dozen years ago when Principia Biopharma was founded by UCSF professor Jack Taunton. Peter Thompson initially helmed the biotech.

The company helped expand covalent small molecule inhibitors beyond oncology and into autoimmune disease by targeting cystine. But that amino acid is uncommon in a lot of proteins, offering fewer drug targets than, say, lysine, which is present in most proteins of interest. So, over the years, Taunton went back to the drawing board to check out that second amino acid.

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