Jonathan Lim, Erasca CEO (Arch Venture Partners)

Nas­daq rings in Jonathan Lim's next can­cer play, Pfiz­er-backed start­up and Har­vard spin­out with col­lec­tive $534M raise un­der their belts

Ed­i­tor’s note: In­ter­est­ed in fol­low­ing bio­phar­ma’s fast-paced IPO mar­ket? You can book­mark our IPO Track­er here.

IPOs are boom­ing in 2021, and com­pa­nies are go­ing pub­lic ear­li­er than ever.

About 45% of IPOs of­fered in the first half of the year were for com­pa­nies that were still in pre­clin­i­cal and dis­cov­ery stages. That’s a big change for the 66 bio­phar­ma ther­a­peu­tics and plat­form com­pa­nies who com­plet­ed their IPO in the first half of the year, rais­ing $9.3 bil­lion in to­tal.

The hype sur­round­ing SPACs has been lighter in Q2, com­pared to a busy Q1. There have been 93 health­care and life sci­ence-fo­cused SPAC IPOs since Jan­u­ary 2020, with 47 of those rais­ing $15.85 bil­lion in 2021.

Eras­ca and Ima­go Bio­Sciences each pen­ciled in $100 mil­lion rais­es at the end of June as place­hold­er num­bers, while TScan did the same in April. All three priced their IPOs this week. Here’s what you need to know about the lat­est biotechs head­ed to Wall Street:

Nas­daq rings in Jonathan Lim’s next can­cer play

Clin­i­cal-stage on­col­o­gy com­pa­ny Eras­ca has priced its up­sized IPO at $16 a share, and has sold 18.75 mil­lion shares, the com­pa­ny an­nounced Thurs­day evening. Pro­ceeds from the of­fer­ing are ex­pect­ed to be around $300 mil­lion.

The com­pa­ny is lead­ing with a ther­a­py for pa­tients with RAS/MAPK path­way-dri­ven can­cers. Mol­e­c­u­lar al­ter­ations in RAS and the MAPK path­way ac­count for 5.5 mil­lion new cas­es of can­cer across the world each year, the com­pa­ny de­tailed in its S-1. Of those pa­tients, more than 90% have no treat­ment op­tions. The com­pa­ny said it ex­pects to have four can­di­dates in the clin­ic with­in the next year and a half, and file an in­ves­ti­ga­tion­al new drug ap­pli­ca­tion every 12-18 months over the next five years. Its two clin­i­cal pro­grams right now are ERAS-601, which was li­censed from NiKand Ther­a­peu­tics, and ERAS-007, which was ac­quired from ASN Prod­uct De­vel­op­ment.

“We be­lieve our world-class team’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties and ex­pe­ri­ence, fur­ther guid­ed by our sci­en­tif­ic ad­vi­so­ry board, which in­cludes the world’s lead­ing ex­perts in the RAS/MAPK path­way, unique­ly po­si­tion us to achieve our bold mis­sion of eras­ing can­cer,” it said.

The com­pa­ny was launched by CEO Jonathan Lim in 2018, af­ter he auc­tioned his com­pa­ny Igny­ta to Roche for $1.7 bil­lion. Last Au­gust, the com­pa­ny raised its fundrais­ing to­tal to $300 mil­lion. Eras­ca says it has 11 pro­grams in the works.

Eras­ca will trade un­der the tick­er $ERAS, and the IPO is ex­pect­ed to close on Ju­ly 20. JP Mor­gan, Mor­gan Stan­ley, Bo­fA Se­cu­ri­ties, Ever­core ISI and Guggen­heim Se­cu­ri­ties are act­ing as joint book-run­ning man­agers.

Ima­go prices IPO in quest for bone mar­row can­di­date, scores new in­vest­ment by Pfiz­er

A lit­tle more than a month af­ter Ima­go an­nounced pos­i­tive Phase II re­sults in a tri­al for bomedem­stat, Ima­go has used that to help pro­pel it­self to an IPO priced on the high end of its range.

Ima­go Bio­Sciences has al­so priced its IPO at $16 a share, sell­ing 8.4 mil­lion shares to raise $134 mil­lion. Con­cur­rent­ly, it says Pfiz­er will be mak­ing a pri­vate pur­chase of its stock for an ad­di­tion­al $20 mil­lion.

Ima­go is de­vel­op­ing small mol­e­cule prod­ucts that in­hib­it ly­sine-spe­cif­ic demethy­lase 1 (LSD1), an en­zyme that plays a role in the pro­duc­tion of blood cells in blood mar­row.

About 83% of pa­tients with es­sen­tial throm­bo­cythemia, a dis­ease in which the body pro­duces too many platelets, saw a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion of platelet counts while main­tain­ing sta­ble he­mo­glo­bin lev­els.

In a study of pa­tients with ad­vanced myelofi­bro­sis — a type of bone can­cer that dis­rupts the body’s nor­mal pro­duc­tion of blood cells — 94% of pa­tients showed a re­duc­tion of 50% or more in symp­toms. In 34 pa­tients eval­u­at­ed for mu­tant al­lele fre­quen­cies, the num­ber de­creased in 44% of pa­tients and re­mained the same in 47%, with no new mu­ta­tions in the 660 days that fol­lowed.

Ima­go will be list­ed on the Nas­daq un­der $IM­GO. Jef­feries, Cowen, Stifel and Guggen­heim Se­cu­ri­ties are joint bookrun­ners on the deal.

Ahead of an­tic­i­pat­ed IND ap­pli­ca­tions, TScan heads to Nas­daq

A No­var­tis-backed Har­vard spin­out look­ing to build a TCR repos­i­to­ry has priced its IPO on the low end of its range, the com­pa­ny an­nounced Thurs­day.

TScan Ther­a­peu­tics has sold 6.7 mil­lion shares at $15 to raise $100 mil­lion. This brings the com­pa­ny’s mar­ket val­ue to $384 mil­lion. It will trade on the Nas­daq un­der $TCRX.

At the start of the year, TScan land­ed a $100 mil­lion crossover round to con­tin­ue its work on T cell tar­gets.

The com­pa­ny is de­vel­op­ing a pipeline of T cell re­cep­tor-en­gi­neered ther­a­pies for the treat­ment of hema­to­log­i­cal and sol­id tu­mors. INDs for two of its liq­uid tu­mor can­di­dates will be sub­mit­ted in Q4 of this year, and INDs for three of its four sol­id tu­mor can­di­dates will be sub­mit­ted by the sec­ond half of 2022.

Mor­gan Stan­ley, Jef­feries, Cowen, and Bar­clays are joint bookrun­ners.

The biggest ques­tions fac­ing gene ther­a­py, the XLMTM com­mu­ni­ty, and Astel­las af­ter fourth pa­tient death

After three patients died last year in an Astellas gene therapy trial, the company halted the study and began figuring out how to safely get the program back on track. They would, executives eventually explained, cut the dose by more than half and institute a battery of other measures to try to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Then tragically, Astellas announced this week that the first patient to receive the new regimen had died, just weeks after administration.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

What Will it Take to Re­al­ize the Promise and Po­ten­tial of Im­mune Cell Ther­a­pies?

What does it take to get to the finish line with a new cancer therapy – fast? With approvals in place and hundreds of immune cell therapy candidates in the pipeline, the global industry is poised to create a fundamental shift in cancer treatments towards precision medicine. At the same time, unique challenges associated with cell and process complexity present manufacturing bottlenecks that delay speed to market and heighten cost of goods sold (COGS) — these hurdles must be overcome to make precision treatments an option for every cancer patient. This series of articles highlights some of the key manufacturing challenges associated with the production of cell-based cancer therapies as well as the solutions needed to transcend them. Automation, process knowledge, scalability, and assured supply of high-quality starting material and reagents are all critical to realizing the full potential of CAR-based therapies and sustaining the momentum achieved in recent years. The articles will highlight leading-edge technologies that incorporate these features to integrate across workflows, accelerate timelines and reduce COGS – along with how these approaches are enabling the biopharmaceutical industry to cross the finish line faster with new treatment options for patients in need.

Dan O'Day, Gilead CEO (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Eu­ro­pean study finds that Gilead­'s Covid-19 an­tivi­ral remde­sivir shows no clin­i­cal ben­e­fit

Gilead’s remdesivir — or Veklury, as it’s marketed in the US — raked in around $2.8 billion last year as the only FDA-approved antiviral to treat Covid-19. But new data from a European study suggest the drug, which has been given to about half of hospitalized Covid patients in the country, has no actual benefit.

The open-label DisCoVeRy trial enrolled Covid-19 patients across 48 sites in Europe to test a handful of treatments, including remdesivir, lopinavir–ritonavir, lopinavir–ritonavir and interferon beta-1a, and hydroxychloroquine. To participate, patients had to show symptoms for seven days and require oxygen support. A total of 429 patients were randomized to receive remdesivir plus standard of care, while 428 were assigned to standard of care alone.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 117,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Gri­fols drops $1B on Ger­man hold­ing com­pa­ny in con­tin­ued plas­ma push

One Spanish biotech is beefing up its plasma therapy operations, and on Friday, it announced that it’s doing so in a billion-dollar deal.

Grifols is now the largest shareholder of Biotest, a company valued at more than $1.8 billion. By teaming up, the two will try to increase the number of plasma therapies available and increase patient access around the world, Grifols said in a press release.

The company did so by acquiring holding company Tiancheng Pharmaceutical, the Germany-based owner of nearly 90% of Biotest shares, for nearly $1.27 billion. Grifols now owns nearly 90% of Biotest voting rights and almost 45% of the total share capital of Biotest.

Amgen VP of R&D David Reese

Am­gen rolls out da­ta for KRAS in­hibitor com­bo study in col­orec­tal can­cer, hop­ing to move on from ug­ly ear­ly re­sults

With the first win for its KRAS inhibitor sotorasib in hand, Amgen is pushing ahead with an aggressive clinical plan to capitalize on its first-to-market standing. The drugmaker thinks combinations — in-house or otherwise — could offer a path forward, and one early readout from that strategy is bearing fruit.

A combination of Amgen’s sotorasib and its EGFR inhibitor Vectibix posted an overall response rate of 27% in 26 patients with advanced colorectal cancer (CRC) with the KRAS-G12C mutation, according to data from the larger Phase Ib/II CODEBREAK 101 study set to present at this weekend’s virtual ESMO Congress.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 117,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Covid-19 roundup: FDA re­veals boost­er ad­comm ques­tion; Eli Lil­ly's an­ti­body cock­tail cleared for pre­ven­tion

The FDA released briefing documents this week from the agency and Pfizer each outlining their arguments for today’s Covid-19 booster shot adcomm, but one thing conspicuously missing was the question on which panel members would be voting. But late Thursday night, regulators published that question.

Adcomm members will be asked whether or not the safety and efficacy data from Pfizer/BioNTech’s original Phase III study “support approval” of a booster shot at least six months after the second dose in individuals older than 16. The question notably excludes the real-world data from Israel and other analyses that Pfizer and the Biden administration had said would be a centerpiece of their arguments for boosters.

A Pfiz­er part­ner wel­comes ex-ADC Ther­a­peu­tics CMO Jay Fein­gold to the team; Amid tough sled­ding, Im­muno­vant choos­es Eli Lil­ly alum as CFO

→ Last week we told you about the CMO revolving door at ADC Therapeutics, as Joseph Camardo replaced the departing Jay Feingold. The next opportunity for Feingold in the CMO slot has opened up at antibody-drug conjugate and mAb developer Pyxis Oncology, which has added several new execs and scientific advisory board members in recent months, including ex-Immunovant CFO Pamela Yanchik Connealy. Before his tenure at ADC, Feingold was Daiichi Sankyo’s VP of US medical affairs and chairman of the Global Medical Affairs Oversight Committee. Within weeks in March, Pyxis struck a licensing deal with Pfizer for two of its ADCs and raked in $152 million from a Series B round.

Wen Wang, IASO CEO

Chi­nese CAR-T play­er books a megaround to dri­ve bustling cell ther­a­py port­fo­lio through the clin­ic

China has quickly emerged as a major driver of oncology R&D in recent years, particularly in cell therapies where the potential for cheaper development has investors drooling. Now, one player, with a handful of early data, is swimming in a new round of investor cash.

IASO Bio has closed a $108 million Series C that the Chinese and California-based biotech said it will use to advance its slate of cell therapy lead programs, while also propping up a roster of next-gen allogeneic cell therapies for the future, according to a release.

Multiple antibiotic resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium

A new way to in­fil­trate (and de­stroy) some of the dead­liest drug-re­sis­tant bugs

About four years ago, Ruben Tommasi, the gregarious scientific chief of antibiotics startup Entasis, walked into a meeting with his top chemist and top biologist to chew over another batch of unchanging results.

“It felt like we were running the same experiment over and over,” Tommasi told Endpoints News. “We had all sort of come to that point in time where we felt like we were banging our heads against the wall.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 117,600+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.