Homology, Unum set IPO terms; Knight pays Ardelyx $19M for tenapanor rights in Canada

→ Two biotechs in Boston have set the terms for their IPOs: Homology Medicines plans to raise $100 million by offering 6.7 million shares between $14 and $16, and Unum Therapeutics is shooting for $75 million by offering 5.8 million shares between $12 and $14. For Unum, insiders intend to purchase $37.5 million worth of shares in the offering, and Seattle Genetics will invest $5 million in a concurrent private placement. Homology is working on adeno-associated virus tech to deliver gene therapies and will use the funds to advance its investigational drug HMI-102 for the treatment of phenylketonuria (PKU) into a Phase I/II study, according to the filing. Unum is developing CAR-T therapies for a broad range of cancers. An early look at Phase 1 data for the drug ACT087 in non-Hodgkin lymphoma showed that two patients died, according to Unum’s filing. The company plans to use the IPO proceeds to advance ACTR087 and ACTR707 through early clinical trials.

→ Scoring another market for tenapanor, Ardelyx $ARDX has signed a $19 million (25 million CAD) deal granting Knight Therapeutics exclusive commercial rights in Canada. Knight, a specialist in gastrointestinal disorders, likes tenapanor’s profiles in both irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and hyperphosphatemia. Fremont, CA-based Ardelyx is prepping an NDA submission for the drug for IBS-C in the second half of this year based on investor-pleasing PhIII data rolled out a few months ago. In addition to the upfront and milestone payments — the breakdown of which was not disclosed — Ardelyx is in for double-digit tiered royalties on net sales.

→ The UK biotech Mereo Pharma says its Phase IIb dose-ranging trial of BGS-649 provided evidence of its ability to normalize testosterone levels in more than 75% of men. The company is developing the drug for obese men suffering from hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. It’s a big market but the FDA has been particularly tough to win over on this indication. Mereo is banking on a pill that can replace troublesome topical therapies.

BeyondSpring $BYSI spread the word today that it has started its second Phase III trial evaluating lead asset plinabulin with docetaxel, this time for chemotherapy-induced neutropenia. The Nasdaq-listed company plans to compare plinabulin with neulasta among 150 cancer patients across 55 sites in the US, China, Ukraine, Russia and Hungary. Investigators say the drug achieved the target duration of severe neutropenia reduction in the 50-patient PhII. Interim data is expected in the second half of 2018.

With contribution by Brittany Meiling and John Carroll.

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

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