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

Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan [via Bloomberg/Getty]

I’m not per­fect: No­var­tis chief Vas Narasimhan al­most apol­o­gizes in the wake of a new cri­sis

Vas Narasimhan has warily stepped up with what might pass as something close to a borderline apology for the latest scandal to engulf Novartis.

But he couldn’t quite get there.

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Roche raids Eli Lil­ly for its next chief med­ical of­fi­cer as San­dra Horn­ing plans to step down

We found out Monday morning where Levi Garraway was headed after he left Eli Lilly as head of oncology R&D a few days ago. Roche named Garraway as their new chief medical officer, replacing Sandra Horning, who they say is retiring from the company.

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Af­ter a posse of Wall Street an­a­lysts pre­dict a like­ly new win for Sarep­ta, we're down to the wire on a crit­i­cal FDA de­ci­sion

As Bloomberg notes, most of the Wall Street analysts that cover Sarepta $SRPT are an upbeat bunch, ready to cheer on the team when it comes to their Duchenne MD drugs, or offer explanations when an odd setback occurs — as happened recently with a safety signal that was ‘erroneously’ reported last week.

Ritu Baral Cowen
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Saqib Islam. CheckRare via YouTube

Spring­Works seeks $115M to push Pfiz­er drugs across fin­ish line while Sat­suma sells mi­graine play in $86M IPO

SpringWorks and Satsuma — both biotech spinouts that have closed B rounds in April — are loading up with IPO cash to boost their respective late-stage plans.
SpringWorks

Bain-backed SpringWorks is the better-known company of the two, and it’s gunning for a larger windfall of $115 million to add to $228 million from previous financings. In the process, the Stamford, CT-based team is also drawing the curtains on the partnerships it has in mind for the pair of assets it had initially licensed from Pfizer.

Mi­nor­i­ty racial groups con­tin­ue to be dis­mal­ly rep­re­sent­ed in can­cer tri­als — study

Data reveal that different racial and ethnic groups — by nature and/or nurture — can respond differently in terms of pharmacokinetics, efficacy, or safety to therapeutics, but this disparity is not necessarily accounted for in clinical trials. A fresh analysis of the last decade of US cancer drug approvals suggests the trend continues, cementing previous research that suggests oncology trials are woefully under-representative of the racial makeup of the real world.

Van­da shares slide af­ter FDA spurns their big end­point and re­jects a pitch on jet lag re­lief

Back in the spring of last year, Vanda Pharmaceuticals $VNDA served up a hot stew of mixed data for a slate of endpoints related to what they called clear evidence that their melatonin sleep drug Hetlioz (tasimelteon) could help millions of travelers suffering from jet lag.

Never mind that they couldn’t get a planned 90 people in the study, settling for 25 instead; Vanda CEO Mihael H. Polymeropoulos said they were building on a body of data to prove it would help jet-lagged patients looking for added sleep benefits. And that, they added, would be worth a major upgrade from the agency as they sought to tackle a big market.

Jim Mellon [via YouTube]

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Earlier this year, an executive from Juvenescence-backed AgeX predicted the field of longevity will eventually “dwarf the dotcom boom.” Greg Bailey, the UK-based anti-aging biotech’s CEO, certainly hopes so.

On Monday, Juvenescence completed its $100 million Series B round of financing. The company is backed by British billionaire Jim Mellon — who wrote his 400-page guide to investing in the field of longevity shortly after launching the company in 2017. Bailey, who served as a board director for seven years at Medivation before Pfizer swallowed the biotech for $14 billion, is joined by Declan Doogan, an industry veteran with stints at Pfizer $PFE and Amarin $AMRN.

AveX­is sci­en­tif­ic founder was axed — and No­var­tis names a new CSO in wake of an ethics scan­dal

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Ab­b­Vie gets its FDA OK for JAK in­hibitor upadac­i­tinib, but don’t look for this one to hit ex­ecs’ lofty ex­pec­ta­tions

Another big drug approval came through on Friday afternoon as the FDA OK’d AbbVie’s upadacitinib — an oral JAK1 inhibitor that is hitting the rheumatoid arthritis market with a black box warning of serious malignancies, infections and thrombosis reflecting fears associated with the class.

It will be sold as Rinvoq — at a wholesale price of $59,000 a year — and will likely soon face competition from a drug that AbbVie once controlled, and spurned. Reuters reports that a 4-week supply of Humira, by comparison, is $5,174, adding up to about $67,000 a year.