Ideaya wraps $50M IPO to fu­el clin­i­cal dri­ve on syn­thet­ic lethal­i­ty

Ideaya Bio­sciences has fol­lowed sev­er­al oth­er down­sized IPOs on­to the Nas­daq, be­gin­ning a new pub­lic life with a $50 mil­lion raise and the tick­er sym­bol $IDYA.

Led by CEO Yu­jiro Ha­ta, an ex­pe­ri­enced biotech ex­ec who built the South San Fran­cis­co com­pa­ny from scratch while an en­tre­pre­neur-in-res­i­dence at 5AM, Ideaya is all about tar­get­ed can­cer ther­a­pies and syn­thet­ic lethal­i­ty — the strat­e­gy of tar­get­ing two genes si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly for a more po­tent ef­fect. It’s start­ing out with an ear­ly-stage drug picked up for a song from No­var­tis.

Yu­jiro Ha­ta Ideaya

The plan is to take the drug, a PKC in­hibitor for can­cers with GNAQ and GNA11 mu­ta­tions, straight in­to a bas­ket study in sol­id tu­mors, then fol­low that with a slate of pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams com­pos­ing what Ha­ta sees as the most “di­verse port­fo­lio” in the pre­ci­sion med­i­cine field.

Pri­or to the IPO, he’s amassed $140 mil­lion in two fi­nanc­ing rounds from some of the biggest in­vestor names, in­clud­ing Cel­gene, No­var­tis and Roche as well as 6 Di­men­sions, Per­cep­tive, BVF, Nex­tech, GV and WuXi Health­care Ven­tures. 5AM and Canaan held the biggest chunks of stock.

Key to Ideaya’s suc­cess would be the pre­cise seg­men­ta­tion of pa­tients us­ing mol­e­c­u­lar di­ag­nos­tics — a boom­ing field ripe for tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tions and cap­i­tal in­jec­tion of its own.

Case in point: Per­son­alis, is seek­ing $115 mil­lion on the promise of the genome se­quenc­ing tech it sells to phar­mas (in­clud­ing Mer­ck and Pfiz­er), biotechs, uni­ver­si­ties and oth­er med­ical re­search in­sti­tutes.

Its Im­munoID NeXT plat­form, Per­son­alis says, is “the first tech­nol­o­gy to en­able com­pre­hen­sive analy­sis of both a tu­mor and its im­mune mi­croen­vi­ron­ment from a sin­gle sam­ple and pro­vides util­i­ty across im­muno-on­col­o­gy, tar­get­ed, and per­son­al­ized ther­a­pies.” And that’s one of sev­er­al prod­ucts it plans to com­mer­cial­ize lat­er this year.

The pro­ceeds will fund every­thing from R&D and in­fra­struc­ture to hir­ing and mar­ket­ing, the com­pa­ny wrote in an SEC fil­ing. Light­speed Ven­ture Part­ners and Abing­worth Bioven­tures V each con­trol a quar­ter of the shares.


Im­age: Shut­ter­stock

Janet Woodcock (AP Images)

Janet Wood­cock to be act­ing FDA com­mis­sion­er while Biden team fi­nal­izes nom­i­nee — re­ports

Janet Woodcock is set to be the most powerful person at the FDA in less than a week.

The veteran regulator and longtime director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research has been tapped as acting commissioner of the FDA, according to reports by BioCentury’s Steve Usdin and Pink Sheet’s Sarah Karlin-Smith.

The appointment was requested by the incoming Biden team, Karlin-Smith added, as they sort out the nomination of a permanent successor to Stephen Hahn — whose one-year tenure has been defined by Covid-19.

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Janet Woodcock (AP Images)

Janet Wood­cock is in the run­ning for FDA com­mis­sion­er — what does that mean for the agen­cy's fu­ture?

Just a day after reports emerged that Janet Woodcock will serve as interim chief of the FDA, word has gotten out that she is also in the running for the permanent job.

The decision, as the initial wave of reactions suggest, could have dramatic implications for where the agency is headed in the next four years — if not beyond.

Woodcock, the longtime CDER director, is being vetted alongside former FDA principal deputy commissioner Joshua Sharfstein, Bloomberg reported. Already tapped as acting head of the agency, she’s set to take over from Stephen Hahn right after Biden’s inauguration next week.

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Steve Harr (L) and Hans Bishop

Paint­ing by the num­bers, Sana founders carve up a gi­ant uni­corn-sized IPO — for a biotech that has­n't quite made it to the clin­ic

Sana Biotechnology is one of those startups that was sketched in on the chalkboard day one in the shape of a unicorn.

A giant unicorn.

And from the numbers the cell therapy 2.0 play spelled out in their S-1 $SANA, it’s clear that the company founders — led by a pair of major VCs aligned with some high-profile industry figures — are hunting a big chunk of that value for themselves.

The raise they penciled in — $150 million — isn’t likely what they actually have in mind, and it doesn’t do justice to the size of their ambitions.

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Eli Lil­ly re-ups di­ver­si­ty pledge, pitch­ing in $30M to ven­ture fund for mi­nor­i­ty-owned health­care firms

The fight against racial injustice spurred by a series of high-profile shootings of Black men by police earlier this year put Big Pharma and healthcare — industries targeted for their lack of diversity — in the hot seat. Eli Lilly made an early pledge to change its ways and put more back into the community, and now it’s continuing to make good on that commitment.

Lilly will infuse $30 million into the Unseen Capital Health Fund, a venture fund looking to invest in early-stage minority-owned healthcare companies that have been historically “unseen” by the investment community, the pharma said Friday.

Laurie Glimcher, Dana-Farber president and CEO (Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: With its rank-and-file churn­ing out star­tups, Dana-Far­ber launch­es ven­ture fund to cap­i­tal­ize on that suc­cess

The pace of innovation at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in recent years has seen a wave of startups launch with IP or leadership sourced from the nonprofit’s ranks. Now, looking for its own returns on that success, Dana-Farber has launched a new venture fund to invest in those fledgling businesses.

On Thursday, Dana-Farber unveiled Binney Street Capital — its first-ever venture fund. Roche and Verily veteran Luba Greenwood has been tapped to lead the fund, which was named after the location of the institute’s Boston site.

CEO Brett Monia (Ionis)

Can Brett Mo­nia push Io­n­is be­yond Spin­raza?

For 30 years, Brett Monia struggled as one of Ionis’ top scientists to get their antisense technology to work. Now, as CEO, he’s trying to use it to turn Ionis into one of the industry’s biggest biotechs.

Monia, one of the handful of young scientists who in 1989 followed Stanley Crooke across the country from SmithKline (now GSK) in Philadelphia to found Ionis in Northern California, replaced Crooke as CEO last January. By then, they had proven antisense, an RNA-based method for manipulating gene expression, could work dramatically well in at least some instances, transforming spinal muscular atrophy with the Biogen-partnered blockbuster Spinraza.

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David Kessler in April 2009 (Eric Risberg/AP Images)

Covid-19 roundup: Hack­ers start re­leas­ing 'ma­nip­u­lat­ed' Covid-19 vac­cine docs; Ex-FDA com­mish David Kessler to re­place Mon­cef Slaoui as Op­er­a­tion Warp Speed chief — re­port

There’s a new twist on the EMA Covid-19 hacking story.

Friday the European agency put out the 5th in a series of statements about the hackers who broke into their system, noting that some of the information on vaccines that was gleaned in the attack is showing up online — altered to raise questions about the Covid-19 vaccines now in use.

This included internal/confidential email correspondence dating from November, relating to evaluation processes for COVID-19 vaccines. Some of the correspondence has been manipulated by the perpetrators prior to publication in a way which could undermine trust in vaccines.

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Terry Rosen, Arcus CEO

Gilead part­ner Ar­cus earns an­a­lyst­s' plau­dits for ear­ly pan­cre­at­ic can­cer da­ta that 'ex­ceed­ed ex­pec­ta­tion­s'

Arcus’ small molecule CD73 inhibitor for pancreatic cancer got a standing ovation from analysts who said preliminary data “exceeded expectations”— making waves in a field that’s seen little progress in several years and proving the candidate could be worth the hundreds of millions Gilead provided upfront in a deal that included more than a billion dollars for opt-in rights and milestones.

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News brief­ing: Five Prime fi­nal­izes PhI­II plans for gas­tric can­cer; AI di­ag­nos­tics-fo­cused Paige ex­pands staff

Five Prime Therapeutics has finalized a plan to take their comeback gastric cancer drug into late-stage studies.

The South San Francisco-based biotech released full Phase II data for bemarituzumab on Friday, which Five Prime said in November met all of its pre-specified efficacy endpoints in a topline readout. Now, the company is announcing it plans to launch a Phase III trial for the program in 2021. Following November’s readout, the future of bemarituzumab had not yet been finalized.