Fresh from $102M haul, IGM Bio pitches $100M IPO as it plots first-in-human trial of new antibodies
IGM Biosciences is the latest preclinical biotech to shoot for a Nasdaq listing, pitching a $100 million IPO on its unique class of cancer-fighting antibodies.
Just as much as its technology and clinical plans the SEC filing offers a window into the biotech’s little known history, highlighting the role that a Danish chemical company played.
The company now known as IGM Biosciences — with headquarters in Mountain View, CA — was first born in 1993 with the name of Palingen, it wrote. It had been focused on researching naturally occurring IgM antibodies until 2010, when Haldor Topsøe Holdings came in with an equity investment spurring a name change and a pivot to engineering new antibodies that harness IgM’s 10 binding domains, compared to 2 for traditional IgG.
Haldor Topsøe, a storied company focused on catalysis, remains by far the largest stockholder ahead of the public debut; Janus Capital, which came on board during the recent $102 million Series C, holds barely one-tenth of their shares. While Baker Bros and Redmile Group each control more shares than Janus, theirs is non-voting common stock.
With longtime VC Fred Schwarzer at the helm and Roche/Genentech vets Bruce Keyt and Dan Chen as CSO and CMO, respectively, IGM is first pursuing a bispecific T cell engager targeting CD20 on cancer cells and CD3 on T cells. Initial dosing of the drug, IGM-2323, in patients with relapsed/refractory B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is planned for later in 2019.
Execs are also hopeful about eventually expanding to other hematologic malignancies expressing CD20, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia as well as treatment-naïve lymphoma.
From the S-1:
In our in vitro studies, IgM antibodies bind antigens with high avidity that results in the IgM antibody remaining attached to the target for longer periods of time than an IgG antibody. We believe that this durable binding property will translate to an increased residence time on cancer cells and will increase the chance that a T cell will find and kill the cancer cell while the T cell engager is bound to the cancer cell.
IGM is vying for the leading position in the red hot field of bispecifics and it knows it. Just in the CD20 realm, it lists heavyweights Regeneron, Genmab, Xencor and Roche/Genentech as competitors.
“The thing that really hooked me was the longterm future,” Chen, who was credited for leading the Tecentriq program at Roche, told Endpoints News when he made the move last August.
His compensation package for those four months in 2018 added up to $715, 638, including over $500,000 in stock and option awards, while Schwarzer bagged $519,214 including option awards and Keyt received $353,333 just in salary.
Next up in the pipeline is an IgM antibody directed to death receptor 5 (DR5) proteins, a member of the TNFrSF family notorious for the need of binding in clusters of at least three — which IgG is unable to do due to its bivalent nature. IGM noted that AbbVie, InhibRx, Genmab and Boehringer Ingelheim all have programs in the space.
Part of the proceeds will go toward enabling an IND for this unnamed program next year, while some will be allocated to the build-out of new manufacturing facilities to supply their own clinical and, ultimately, commercial material.