In ‘surprise’ move, BioXcel files for cancer subsidiary to go public
BioXcel is filing for its one-year-old cancer subsidiary to go public after previously saying that it was “exploring strategic options” for the company in its fourth quarter report.
On Tuesday, BioXcel announced that its cancer arm, OnkosXcel, filed to become a public company, though its ticker symbol, number of shares and price range for the initial public offering were not yet set.
Mizuho analyst Graig Suvannavejh wrote in a note to investors that the company’s “decision to IPO comes, to us, as a surprise.”
He added that he believed partnering with a pharma company to develop its lead candidate was “perhaps the more straightforward path.”
BioXcel formed OnkosXcel in April last year, shortly after it won approval for Igalmi, an oral film drug placed under the tongue to treat agitation associated with schizophrenia and bipolar I or II disorder. While the parent company focused on commercializing its newly approved drug and working on its other neuro and psych drug candidates, OnkosXcel focused on developing BXCL701, an oral cancer drug.
BXCL701 is meant to activate the innate immune system to fight tumor cells, and OnkosXcel is testing the drug in a type of prostate cancer. It’s currently in a Phase IIa trial, where it’s being tested in combination with Keytruda, and the company is planning to move the candidate into a pivotal Phase IIb trial in the second half of this year.
At ASCO GU, the biotech presented interim data on the Phase IIa trial, where 3 of 10 patients in the difficult-to-treat-population of metastatic prostate cancer responded to the combination — results, which Suvannavejh said, were promising.
OnkosXcel is also planning a trial in small cell lung cancer for the second half of this year.