IPO market continues to churn with a pair of Covid-19 biotechs seeking Nasdaq, while mitochondria-focused Reneo debuts
Editor’s note: Interested in following biopharma’s fast-paced IPO market? You can bookmark our IPO Tracker here.
Biotech continues to see a huge flow of companies looking to make their public debuts as the second quarter gets underway.
Two European biotechs working on Covid-19 vaccines, Vaccitech and Valneva, both filed their SEC paperwork over the weekend, while mitochondrial disease company Reneo Pharmaceuticals priced its own IPO last Friday. Per Endpoints News’ tally, the IPO count this year has now surpassed 40 biotechs that have priced or filed, roughly on pace to match 2020’s record of 92.
Both Vaccitech and Valneva put down the now-standard $100 million placeholder for their raise, while Reneo priced at $15 per share with $94 million in funds.
Vaccitech officially files and warns of blood clot risk
The British biotech is most famous for creating the technology behind the AstraZeneca/Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine, with its co-founder Sarah Gilbert having headed up that research. Vaccitech’s push to go public comes just a couple of weeks after raising an impressive $168 million for a Series B round, led by London investment firm M&G and joined by Gilead and Tencent, among others.
As a result of that March raise, Vaccitech’s valuation skyrocketed to as much as $450 million after being valued at as little as $86 million two years ago.
Concerns have arisen over the AstraZeneca shot due to a rare side effect of blood clots in younger recipients, however, which may limit some of the optimism surrounding Vaccitech. Last week, the EMA and MHRA both requested that clots be listed as a very rare potential risk to the vaccine, though they noted the benefits of getting the shot continue to outweigh those risks.
Vaccitech noted these concerns in its S-1 “risk factor” section, writing that in addition to the positive risk-benefit profile of the vaccine, “there can be no assurance that the vaccine is not associated with an increase in the overall risk of thromboembolic events.” AstraZeneca also paused its vaccine trial in children last week as the clotting worries have continued.
The biotech plans to list under the ticker $VACC.
Despite UK supply deal, Valneva wary of export tensions
Valneva, meanwhile, is a smaller player in the Covid-19 field, though they’re backed by one prominent entity — the UK government.
Headquartered across the English channel in Saint-Herblain, France, Valneva has commitments to deliver 100 million vaccines to Britain by 2022. The UK has additional options for another 90 million in supply between 2023 and 2025, though they haven’t opted-in just yet.
Should all the options be exercised, the value of the deal would equal €1.4 billion, or about $1.69 billion.
But Valneva, like Vaccitech, highlighted a potential risk that’s been in the news recently, noting in its S-1 that export restrictions may affect its ability to deliver those shots promised to the UK. Thanks to Brexit, the company said any limits on imports or exports may pose a “substantial” risk as the shots are manufactured in the UK but packaged in the EU.
Friday’s filing comes just a few days after the biotech reported new positive vaccine data from a Phase I/II trial, and a Phase III could begin as soon as the end of April. Valneva tested three dosing levels, and like many other Covid-19 shots being tested or authorized, it was administered in two jabs three weeks apart.
Valneva is also working on a Lyme disease vaccine with Pfizer, and launched a Phase II study for that candidate in March. It plans on listing on the ticker $VALN in Nasdaq, and already trades on the French stock market as well.
Reneo takes its mitochondrial disease program to Nasdaq
Reneo’s Nasdaq debut last week came after it raised a $95 million Series B in December.
Backed by Novo Ventures and Abingworth, Reneo had enough cash beforehand to take them through the completion of three early- to mid-stage trials for their lead program, REN001, CEO Gregory Flesher told Endpoints at the time. Within its S-1, Reneo has now detailed its plans to use the IPO funds to complete those studies in primary mitochondrial myopathies, fatty acid oxidation disorders and McArdle disease.
REN001 is a PPAR-delta agonist, and the three conditions Reneo is looking at are related to different parts of mitochondrial function. A once-daily pill, REN001 has the ability to help cells express certain genes within the mitochondria that increase a patient’s metabolism.
Though it’s not a gene therapy, the ultimate goal is to help patients replenish mitochondria cells once old ones die off while simultaneously boosting enzyme production.
Reneo priced at the low end of its range, using the ticker $RPHM.