Nello Mainolfi, Kymera CEO (via YouTube)

Kymera, rais­ing $173M+, be­comes the 48th biotech IPO of the year as 2020 sur­pass­es 2019

Yet an­oth­er biotech will hit Nas­daq on Fri­day, and this one marks a mile­stone for 2020.

Cam­bridge, MA-based Kymera has priced its IPO, an­nounc­ing a pub­lic price of $20 per share and $173.7 mil­lion raise. That’s up­sized from an ini­tial range of $16 to $18 per share, and would give the com­pa­ny a mar­ket val­ue north of $900 mil­lion.

The an­nounce­ment marks the 48th biotech IPO to go pub­lic this year, sur­pass­ing the to­tal from all of 2019, ac­cord­ing to in­vest­ment an­a­lyst Brad Lon­car. Kymera’s tick­er will be $KYMR.

Launch­ing from stealth mode out of an At­las-backed in­cu­ba­tor in 2017, Kymera has been at or near the fore­front of pro­tein degra­da­tion R&D, join­ing oth­er pi­o­neers C4 Ther­a­peu­tics, Arv­inas and Nurix. Kymera has marched for­ward steadi­ly since then, nab­bing $102 mil­lion in a Se­ries C back in March and agree­ing to a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Sanofi in Ju­ly po­ten­tial­ly worth more than $2 bil­lion.

The biotech is fo­cus­ing re­search on a trio of lead pro­grams de­signed to de­grade IRAK4, IRAKIMiD and STAT3, re­spec­tive­ly. IRAK4 was the star of the Sanofi pact, a tar­get that sits down­stream of “one of the most val­i­dat­ed path­ways in in­nate im­mu­ni­ty,” Kymera CEO Nel­lo Main­olfi pre­vi­ous­ly told End­points News, re­fer­ring to where the IL-1 cy­tokine fam­i­ly and toll-like re­cep­tor sig­nal­ing con­verges.

Pro­ceeds from Fri­day’s IPO are ex­pect­ed to fund the de­vel­op­ment of not on­ly the IRAK4 pro­gram, dubbed KT-474, but the oth­er lead stud­ies through the end of Phase I. Kymera is ex­pect­ed to file its first IND for KT-474 some­time in the first half of 2021, with fil­ings for the oth­er two com­ing lat­er in the year.

Kymera is like­ly look­ing to be­come the sec­ond biotech to bring a pro­tein degra­da­tion pro­gram in­to the clin­ic, af­ter Arv­inas’ pro­tein de­grad­er, an an­dro­gen re­cep­tor-tar­get­ing drug for prostate can­cer, reached hu­man test­ing in 2019. Nurix and C4 Ther­a­peu­tics have not be­gun any clin­i­cal stud­ies yet ei­ther, though the duo have inked col­lab­o­ra­tions with Gilead and Roche, re­spec­tive­ly.

While its pro­tein degra­da­tion com­peti­tors have fo­cused main­ly on can­cers, Kymera has branched out in­to in­flam­ma­to­ry and au­toim­mune dis­eases, as well as fi­bro­sis. The com­pa­ny pro­filed about 600 E3 lig­as­es with its plat­form, at­tract­ing both Sanofi and Ver­tex to sign col­lab­o­ra­tion deals.

Sanofi is like­ly aim­ing to find a suc­ces­sor to its block­buster drug Dupix­ent, and hopes they have found an­oth­er di­a­mond in the rough in KT-474. As part of the agree­ment, the French phar­ma would take the lead on Phase II test­ing once Kymera fin­ish­es first-in-hu­man test­ing.

IDC: Life Sci­ences Firms Must Em­brace Dig­i­tal Trans­for­ma­tion Now

Pre-pandemic, the life sciences industry had settled into a pattern. The average drug took 12 years and $2.9 billion to bring to market, and it was an acceptable mode of operations, according to Nimita Limaye, Research Vice President for Life Sciences R&D Strategy and Technology at IDC.

COVID-19 changed that, and served as a proof-of-concept for how technology can truly help life sciences companies succeed and grow, Limaye said. She recently spoke about industry trends at Egnyte’s Life Sciences Summit 2022. You should watch the entire session, free and on-demand, but here’s a brief recap of why she’s urging life sciences companies to embrace digital transformation.

Tom Barnes, Orna Therapeutics CEO

UP­DAT­ED: 'We have failed to fail': Mer­ck gam­bles $250M cash on a next-gen ap­proach to mR­NA — af­ter punt­ing its big al­liance with Mod­er­na

Merck went in deep on its collaboration with Moderna on new mRNA programs, and dropped them all over time, including their RSV partnership. But after writing off what turned out as one of the most successful infectious disease players in the business, Merck is coming in this morning with a new preclinical alliance — this time embracing a biotech that hopes to eventually outdo the famously successful mRNA in a new run at vaccines and therapeutics.

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Bayer's first DTC ad campaign for chronic kidney disease drug Kerendia spells out its benefits

Bay­er aims to sim­pli­fy the com­plex­i­ties of CKD with an ABC-themed ad cam­paign

Do you know the ABCs of CKD in T2D? Bayer’s first ad campaign for Kerendia tackles the complexity of chronic kidney disease with a play on the acronym (CKD) and its connection to type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Kerendia was approved last year as the first and only non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist to treat CKD in people with type 2 diabetes.

In the TV commercial launched this week, A is for awareness, B is for belief and C is for cardiovascular, explained in the ad as awareness of the connection between type 2 and kidney disease, belief that something can be done about it, and cardiovascular events that may be reduced with treatment.

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James Mock, incoming CFO at Moderna

Mod­er­na taps new CFO from PerkinElmer af­ter for­mer one-day CFO oust­ed

When Moderna hired a new CFO last year,  it didn’t expect to see him gone after only one day. Today the biotech named his — likely much more vetted — replacement.

The mRNA company put out word early Wednesday that after the untimely departure of then brand-new CFO Jorge Gomez, it has now found a replacement in James Mock, the soon-to-be former CFO at diagnostics and analytics company PerkinElmer.

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Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division

GSK lands first-ever UNICEF con­tract for malar­ia vac­cine worth $170M

GSK has landed a new first from UNICEF the first-ever contract for malaria vaccines, worth up to $170 million for 18 million vaccine doses distributed over the next three years.

The vaccine, known as Mosquirix or RTS,S, won WHO’s backing last October after a controversial start, but UNICEF said these doses will potentially save thousands of lives every year.

“We hope this is just the beginning,” Etleva Kadilli, director of UNICEF’s supply division, said. “Continued innovation is needed to develop new and next-generation vaccines to increase available supply, and enable a healthier vaccine market. This is a giant step forward in our collective efforts to save children’s lives and reduce the burden of malaria as part of wider malaria prevention and control programmes.”

Joel Dudley, new partner at Innovation Endeavors (Tempus Labs)

For­mer Google CEO’s VC is mak­ing a big­ger push in­to the biotech world, hir­ing promi­nent Ther­a­nos skep­tic

Venture capital firm Innovation Endeavors has mainly had its focus on investments across the tech space, but it has been slowly turning its attention to the biotech world. Now, a new partner is coming into the fold showing that its interest in biotech is likely to grow further.

The Silicon Valley-based company, which is headed up by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, has brought on Joel Dudley as a partner. According to Dudley’s LinkedIn page, he is joining Innovation Endeavors after serving as the chief science officer of biotech startup Tempus Labs from 2020.

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Joe Jonas (Photo by Anthony Behar/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

So­lo Jonas broth­er car­ries Merz's new tune in Botox ri­val cam­paign

As the lyrics of his band’s 2019 pop-rock single suggest, Joe Jonas is only human — and that means even he gets frown lines. The 33-year-old singer-songwriter is Merz’s newest celebrity brand partner for its Botox rival Xeomin, as medical aesthetics brands target a younger audience.

Merz kicked off its “Beauty on Your Terms” campaign on Tuesday, featuring the Jonas brother in a video ad for its double-filtered anti-wrinkle injection Xeomin.

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Paul Perreault, CSL Behring CEO

CSL CEO Paul Per­reault de­ter­mined to grow plas­ma col­lec­tion af­ter full-year sales dip

As the ink dries on CSL’s $11.7 billion Vifor buyout, the company posted a dip in profits, due in part to a drop in plasma donations amid the pandemic.

However, CEO Paul Perreault assured investors and analysts on the full-year call that the team has left “no stone unturned” when assessing options to grow plasma volumes. The chief executive also spelled out positive results for the company’s monoclonal antibody garadacimab in hereditary angioedema (HAE), though he isn’t revealing the exact numbers just yet.

Blaise Coleman, Endo International CEO

En­do files for Chap­ter 11 as it looks to fin­ish off its opi­oid lit­i­ga­tion

Irish drugmaker Endo International is entering into bankruptcy as it faces the weight of serious litigation related to its involvement in the opioid epidemic in the US.

The company has filed Chapter 11 proceedings in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, with the company expected to file recognition proceedings in Canada, the UK and Australia. The company’s bankruptcy filing showed the company had assets and liabilities in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion.