Langer-inspired Kala files for an $86M IPO; J&J backs Provention Bio

→  Kala Pharmaceuticals has filed for an $86 million IPO, just weeks after the biotech reported positive top line data for a Phase III study of its lead ophthalmology drug KPI-121. In its S-1 the biotech — co-founded by MIT’s Bob Langer — says that it will file its first NDA before the end of this year, with another to follow in early 2018. And it’s in two more Phase III studies for dry eye disease with another formulation of the lead treatment. Kala has tried to pull off an IPO during trying times for biotech stocks. Now the market has been booming for a few days at least and biotech IPOs have been lining up to take advantage of growing evidence that investors are once again investing in risky plays.

→  Provention Bio announced that it raised $28.4 million in Series A financing, with J&J emerging as a main investor. Provention’s pipeline includes clinical-stage assets licensed from Janssen and Vactech Oy, which the company will develop for chronic immune diseases. The company says it plans for an IPO in 2018. Ashleigh Palmer, co-founder and CEO of Provention, stated, “With our founding financing complete, we believe that Provention is ready to advance its mission of early disease interception and prevention.  Our goal is to do more than merely treat the symptoms of chronic autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.  We hope to identify and combat the underlying cause, or trigger, of such diseases before symptoms emerge, and to intercept disease progression and relapse to eliminate or reduce long-term damage and chronic suffering.”

→  Nicolai Wagtmann has been named chief scientific officer of Dragonfly, who recently made waves by forming a 5-year collaboration with Celgene“We are delighted to welcome Nicolai to a crucial role in Dragonfly’s strong scientific team,” said Bill Haney, co-founder and CEO of Dragonfly. “He’s a gifted scientist who brings Dragonfly extraodinary depth of experience in Natural Killer cell-based therapies, a talent for leading teams through the development of breakthrough immunotherapies and a rich background in collaborating effectively with world leading Pharmaceutical companies.  He’s passionately dedicated to Dragonfly’s mission of eliminating cancer in patients – perhaps the biggest potential scientific opportunity, of our generation.” 

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VP Oncology Biology
Skyhawk Therapeutics Waltham, MA
Associate Director CMC
Elektroki Boston, MA
Director Process Development
Elektroki Boston, MA
Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT

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