Mike Grey. Mirum

In $86M IPO pitch, Mirum spells out plans to turn Shire dis­cards in­to or­phan liv­er drug suc­cess­es

Mike Grey doesn’t have any time to waste. Hav­ing re­gained con­trol of two liv­er dis­ease drugs from Shire and po­si­tioned them for piv­otal stud­ies — five years af­ter first hand­ing them off in a deal to sell Lu­me­na, where he was CEO — Grey is steer­ing Mirum straight in­to an IPO with a $86 mil­lion ask.

Not that Mirum has spent much of its $120 mil­lion Se­ries A cash since launch­ing last No­vem­ber. Ac­cord­ing to the S-1, the Cal­i­forn­ian biotech has burned through $23.3 mil­lion as of March, but ex­pects ex­pens­es to pick up once their clin­i­cal work gath­ers steam.

Chris Peetz Mirum

The fil­ing al­so re­vealed that it on­ly cost Mirum $7.5 mil­lion in cash up­front to bag mar­al­ix­i­bat and volix­i­bat, its two ma­jor as­sets. Shire — now part of Take­da — had wa­gered $260 mil­lion on Lu­me­na large­ly on the promise of these two as­sets, which both tar­get the api­cal sodi­um-de­pen­dent bile acid trans­porter, or AS­BT (you might re­mem­ber them as LUM001 and LUM002).

Mirum al­so is­sued $7.0 mil­lion worth of shares to Shire at the time, mak­ing them a prin­ci­pal stock­hold­er (10.3%) be­hind NEA (20.8%), Fra­zier (17.3%), Deer­field (17.3) and along­side No­vo Hold­ings (10.4%). Grey him­self is keep­ing 5.5% of the stock while CEO Christo­pher Peetz claims 4.5%.

All told, mile­stones in the Shire deal are just shy of $200 mil­lion.

While mar­al­ix­i­bat had failed mid-stage stud­ies at Shire, Mirum be­lieves bet­ter tri­al de­sign and pa­tient se­lec­tion will de­liv­er the wins they need. In Alag­ille syn­drome (AL­GS), that in­volves test­ing a high­er dose — re­sult­ing in “sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tions in pru­ri­tus and sBA com­pared to place­bo.” And for pro­gres­sive fa­mil­ial in­tra­hep­at­ic cholesta­sis (PF­IC), the team is ze­ro­ing in on the ex­treme itch­ing as­so­ci­at­ed with a par­tic­u­lar, ge­net­i­cal­ly de­fined sub­set of pa­tients. Pa­tient en­roll­ment for the PF­IC tri­al has be­gun while the AL­GS study is slat­ed for next year — all cater­ing to pe­di­atric pa­tients.

Mean­while, adults will be the core de­mo­graph­ic for the volix­i­bat pro­gram, which tests the hy­poth­e­sis that block­ing re­cy­cling of bile acids can re­duce its harm sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly. Ex­pect Phase II tri­als in pri­ma­ry scle­ros­ing cholan­gi­tis and in­tra­hep­at­ic cholesta­sis of preg­nan­cy in 2020, the com­pa­ny says, in a clear de­par­ture from a pre­vi­ous NASH fo­cus.

If the pub­lic de­but goes as planned, the team — com­pris­ing Lu­me­na vets who fol­lowed the drugs — will have plen­ty of re­sources to ex­e­cute all of that for two drugs they plan to even­tu­al­ly com­mer­cial­ize on their own in North Amer­i­ca and Eu­rope.

Mirum’s sym­bol of choice on the Nas­daq is $MIRM.

Im­ple­ment­ing re­silience in the clin­i­cal tri­al sup­ply chain

Since January 2020, the clinical trials ecosystem has quickly evolved to manage roadblocks impeding clinical trial integrity, and patient care and safety amid a global pandemic. Closed borders, reduced air traffic and delayed or canceled flights disrupted global distribution, revealing how flexible logistics and supply chains can secure the timely delivery of clinical drug products and therapies to sites and patients.

In fi­nal days at Mer­ck, Roger Perl­mut­ter bets big on a lit­tle-known Covid-19 treat­ment

Roger Perlmutter is spending his last days at Merck, well, spending.

Two weeks after snapping up the antibody-drug conjugate biotech VelosBio for $2.75 billion, Merck announced today that it had purchased OncoImmune and its experimental Covid-19 drug for $425 million. The drug, known as CD24Fc, appeared to reduce the risk of respiratory failure or death in severe Covid-19 patients by 50% in a 203-person Phase III trial, OncoImmune said in September.

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Pascal Soriot (AP Images)

UP­DAT­ED: As­traZeneca, Ox­ford on the de­fen­sive as skep­tics dis­miss 70% av­er­age ef­fi­ca­cy for Covid-19 vac­cine

On the third straight Monday that the world wakes up to positive vaccine news, AstraZeneca and Oxford are declaring a new Phase III milestone in the fight against the pandemic. Not everyone is convinced they will play a big part, though.

With an average efficacy of 70%, the headline number struck analysts as less impressive than the 95% and 94.5% protection that Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have boasted in the past two weeks, respectively. But the British partners say they have several other bright spots going for their candidate. One of the two dosing regimens tested in Phase III showed a better profile, bringing efficacy up to 90%; the adenovirus vector-based vaccine requires minimal refrigeration, which may mean easier distribution; and AstraZeneca has pledged to sell it at a fraction of the price that the other two vaccine developers are charging.

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Pur­due Phar­ma pleads guilty in fed­er­al Oxy­Con­tin probe, for­mal­ly rec­og­niz­ing it played a part in the opi­oid cri­sis

Purdue Pharma, the producer of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, admitted Tuesday that, yes, it did contribute to America’s opioid epidemic.

The drugmaker formally pleaded guilty to three criminal charges, the AP reported, including getting in the way of the DEA’s efforts to combat the crisis, failing to prevent the painkillers from ending up on the black market and encouraging doctors to write more painkiller prescriptions through two methods: paying them in a speakers program and directing a medical records company to send them certain patient information. Purdue’s plea deal calls for $8.3 billion in criminal fines and penalties, but the company is only liable for a fraction of that total — $225 million.

Overnight for­tunes are be­ing made in biotech these days — and it's both en­cour­ag­ing and more than a lit­tle bit scary

Just to complete the last leg of a running story I’ve been tracking for a few weeks, Olema $OLMA has come through its IPO from the Thursday night pricing at $19 a share with a market cap just north of $2 billion.

That leaves newly-named CEO Sean Bohen holding a batch of 1,110,896 shares with a strike price of $4.82. As of Tuesday morning, the stock is now trading at $53.40, giving him a portfolio value of $53.4 million. Not bad for someone who was hired in September.

The ad­u­canum­ab co­nun­drum: The PhI­II failed a clear reg­u­la­to­ry stan­dard, but no one is cer­tain what that means any­more at the FDA

Eighteen days ago, virtually all of the outside experts on an FDA adcomm got together to mug the agency’s Billy Dunn and the Biogen team when they presented their upbeat assessment on aducanumab. But here we are, more than 2 weeks later, and the ongoing debate over that Alzheimer’s drug’s fate continues unabated.

Instead of simply ruling out any chance of an approval, the logical conclusion based on what we heard during that session, a series of questionable approvals that preceded the controversy over the agency’s recent EUA decisions has come back to haunt the FDA, where the power of precedent is leaving an opening some experts believe can still be exploited by the big biotech.

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Carl Hansen, AbCellera CEO (University of British Columbia)

From a pair of Air Jor­dans to a $200M-plus IPO, Carl Hansen is craft­ing an overnight R&D for­tune fu­eled by Covid-19

Back in the summer of 2019, Carl Hansen left his post as a professor at the University of British Columbia to go full time as the CEO at a low-profile antibody shop he had founded called AbCellera.

As biotech CEOs go, even after a fundraise Hansen wasn’t paid a whole heck of a lot. He ended up earning right at $250,000 for the year. His compensation package included a loan — which he later paid back — and a pair of Air Jordan tennis shoes. His newly-hired CFO, Andrew Booth, got a sweeter pay packet than that — which included his own pair of Air Jordans.

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John Maraganore, Alnylam CEO (Scott Eisen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Al­ny­lam gets the green light from the FDA for drug #3 — and CEO John Maraganore is ready to roll

Score another early win at the FDA for Alnylam.

The FDA put out word today that the agency has approved its third drug, lumasiran, for primary hyperoxaluria type 1, better known as PH1. The news comes just 4 days after the European Commission took the lead in offering a green light.

An ultra rare genetic condition, Alnylam CEO John Maraganore says there are only some 1,000 to 1,700 patients in the US and Europe at any particular point. The patients, mostly kids, suffer from an overproduction of oxalate in the liver that spurs the development of kidney stones, right through to end stage kidney disease.

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News brief­ing: Gilead part­ner Gala­pa­gos sells off CRO for $37M; Polyphor bags $3.3M from CF Foun­da­tion

Close Gilead ally Galapagos is selling off one of its contract research organizations to a Polish pharma company.

Galapagos has agreed to sell 100% of the outstanding shares in the CRO Fidelta to Selvita, in a deal worth roughly $37 million expected to close in the first week of January. The acquisition is expected to nearly double Selvita’s revenues, the company says, as well as expand its drug discovery efforts.