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

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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.

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.

FDA ap­proves one of the prici­est new treat­ments of all time — blue­bird's gene ther­a­py for be­ta tha­lassemia

The FDA on Wednesday approved the first gene therapy for a chronic condition — bluebird bio’s new Zynteglo (beti-cel) as a potentially curative treatment for those with transfusion-dependent thalassemia.

The thumbs-up from the FDA follows a unanimous adcomm vote in June, with outside experts pointing to extraordinary efficacy, with 89% of subjects with TDT who received beti-cel having achieved transfusion independence.

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Joel Dudley, new partner at Innovation Endeavors (Bosch Health Campus)

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 since 2020.

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James Sabry, Roche global head of pharma partnering

Roche, Genen­tech plunk down $60M up­front to part­ner with Chi­nese phar­ma on PRO­TAC-based prostate can­cer drug

Roche and Genentech are always on the hunt for deals, and on Thursday they found their newest partner.

The pair will team up with the Chinese pharma company Jemincare to push forward a new program for prostate cancer, the companies announced. Roche is ponying up $60 million upfront to get its hands on the candidate and promising up to $590 million in biobucks, plus royalties, down the line.

In return, Genentech will get a worldwide license to develop the program, known as JMKX002992, and bring it to market.

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Andrew Hopkins, Exscientia CEO

Ex­sci­en­tia ter­mi­nates Bay­er pact half a year ear­ly, col­lect­ing small por­tion of €240M promised

Bayer and Exscientia are winding down their three-year collaboration, leaving the big German pharma to take the AI-designed compounds born out of the pact further.

London-based Exscientia revealed in its Q2 update that the partners have “mutually agreed to end” their collaboration, which kicked off in early 2020, after recently achieving a drug discovery milestone. In an SEC filing, Exscientia said it terminated the pact on May 30, about six months early.

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.”

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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