Hans Schambye, Galecto CEO

Not two weeks af­ter clos­ing a Se­ries D round, Galec­to files for $100M IPO

Galec­to Biotech is piv­ot­ing to the pub­lic mar­ket less than two weeks af­ter com­plet­ing a $64 mil­lion Se­ries D round.

The Copen­hagen-based com­pa­ny filed its S-1 pa­per­work Wednes­day, seek­ing to raise $100 mil­lion in its IPO. If they hit that bench­mark, the com­pa­ny will have to­taled over $250 mil­lion in fi­nanc­ing in the last two years, ever since clos­ing a $90 mil­lion Se­ries C back in 2018.

Through late Au­gust, the biotech in­dus­try had raised a com­bined $11 bil­lion-plus across four dozen IPOs, per in­de­pen­dent an­a­lyst Brad Lon­car, which sur­passed the amount from all of 2019.

And af­ter four IPOs went pub­lic two Fri­days ago, Nas­daq’s head of health­care list­ings Jor­dan Saxe had the 2020 tal­ly at 56. Through Sept. 25, Saxe pegged the com­bined in­dus­try raise at $11.3 bil­lion.

Saxe’s tal­ly al­so matched Lon­car’s to­tal from 2018, mak­ing 2020 tied for the most biotech IPOs seen in any of the last four years. Sev­er­al fac­tors have con­tributed to the boom, Saxe said at the time, no­tably with the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic high­light­ing an al­ready-im­pres­sive amount of in­no­va­tion in the field.

There’s al­so been a steady in­crease of crossover in­vestors from the last few years, and with the pan­dem­ic econ­o­my, the fact that biotechs can pro­vide longer-term in­vest­ments than com­pa­nies re­liant on quar­ter-to-quar­ter sales num­bers makes the in­dus­try more ap­peal­ing.

Galec­to it­self fo­cus­es its re­search on a wide range of fi­brot­ic dis­eases, and its lead pro­gram GB0139 is cur­rent­ly in a Phase IIb tri­al for id­io­path­ic pul­monary fi­bro­sis. Much of the Se­ries D fund­ing is help­ing get that tri­al across the fin­ish line, with the com­pa­ny con­tin­u­ing its 450-pa­tient en­roll­ment de­spite the pan­dem­ic.

GB0139 is an in­haled galectin-3 in­hibitor with what CEO Hans Scham­bye said is a de­liv­ery sys­tem de­signed to max­i­mize drug ex­po­sure to the lung and min­i­mize sys­temic side ef­fects. The Galec­to can­di­date is hop­ing to com­pete with two oth­er drugs in the field, Boehringer’s Ofev and Roche’s Es­bri­et.

New fund­ing from the IPO will go to­ward ad­vanc­ing GB0139 in­to a Phase III IPF tri­al, ac­cord­ing to the S-1, though Galec­to did not spec­i­fy how much of its raise it’s ded­i­cat­ing to that cause. It’s al­so not en­tire­ly clear when the Phase III will start giv­en that da­ta are ex­pect­ed for the Phase IIb study by the mid­dle of 2022.

Galec­to is ad­di­tion­al­ly aim­ing to in­hib­it galectin-3 in fi­bro­sis re­lat­ed to NASH with its GB1211 pro­gram, an oral­ly de­liv­ered can­di­date. The can­di­date com­plet­ed a Phase I tri­al in 78 pa­tients, with a Phase IIa ex­pect­ed to be­gin in ear­ly 2021. Fur­ther down the pipeline is GB2064, a LOXL2 in­hibitor be­ing stud­ied in myelofi­bro­sis.

Health­care Dis­par­i­ties and Sick­le Cell Dis­ease

In the complicated U.S. healthcare system, navigating a serious illness such as cancer or heart disease can be remarkably challenging for patients and caregivers. When that illness is classified as a rare disease, those challenges can become even more acute. And when that rare disease occurs in a population that experiences health disparities, such as people with sickle cell disease (SCD) who are primarily Black and Latino, challenges can become almost insurmountable.

Jacob Van Naarden (Eli Lilly)

Ex­clu­sives: Eli Lil­ly out to crash the megablock­buster PD-(L)1 par­ty with 'dis­rup­tive' pric­ing; re­veals can­cer biotech buy­out

It’s taken 7 years, but Eli Lilly is promising to finally start hammering the small and affluent PD-(L)1 club with a “disruptive” pricing strategy for their checkpoint therapy allied with China’s Innovent.

Lilly in-licensed global rights to sintilimab a year ago, building on the China alliance they have with Innovent. That cost the pharma giant $200 million in cash upfront, which they plan to capitalize on now with a long-awaited plan to bust up the high-price market in lung cancer and other cancers that have created a market worth tens of billions of dollars.

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David Meek, new Mirati CEO (Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fresh off Fer­Gene's melt­down, David Meek takes over at Mi­rati with lead KRAS drug rac­ing to an ap­proval

In the insular world of biotech, a spectacular failure can sometimes stay on any executive’s record for a long time. But for David Meek, the man at the helm of FerGene’s recent implosion, two questionable exits made way for what could be an excellent rebound.

Meek, most recently FerGene’s CEO and a past head at Ipsen, has become CEO at Mirati Therapeutics, taking the reins from founding CEO Charles Baum, who will step over into the role of president and head of R&D, according to a release.

Rafaèle Tordjman (Jeito Capital)

Con­ti­nu­ity and di­ver­si­ty: Rafaèle Tord­j­man's women-led VC firm tops out first fund at $630M

For a first-time fund, Jeito Capital talks a lot about continuity.

Rafaèle Tordjman had spotlighted that concept ever since she started building the firm in 2018, promising to go the extra mile(s) with biotech entrepreneurs while pushing them to reach patients faster.

Coincidentally, the lack of continuity was one of the sore spots listed in a report about the European healthcare sector published that same year by the European Investment Bank — whose fund is one of the LPs, alongside the American pension fund Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Singapore’s Temasek, to help Jeito close its first fund at $630 million (€534 million). As previously reported, Sanofi had chimed in €50 million, marking its first investment in a French life sciences fund.

Dave Lennon, former president of Novartis Gene Therapies

Zol­gens­ma patent spat brews be­tween No­var­tis and Re­genxbio as top No­var­tis gene ther­a­py ex­ec de­parts

Regenxbio, a small licensor of gene therapy viral vectors spun out from the University of Pennsylvania, is now finding itself in the middle of some major league patent fights.

In addition to a patent suit with Sarepta Therapeutics from last September, Novartis, is now trying to push its smaller partner out of the way. The Swiss biopharma licensed Regenxbio’s AAV9 vector for its $2.1 million spinal muscular atrophy therapy Zolgensma.

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Time for round 2: Il­lu­mi­na-backed VC snags $325M for its next fund

Illumina Ventures closed off its second investment fund with a total commitment of $325 million, offering fresh fuel to back a slate of startups that have already included a smorgasbord of companies, covering everything from diagnostics to biotech drug development and genomics.

Fund II brings the total investment under Illumina Ventures’ oversight to $560 million, which has been focused on early-stage companies. And it has a transatlantic portfolio that includes SQZ, Twist and Encoded Therapeutics.

Volker Wagner (L) and Jeff Legos

As Bay­er, No­var­tis stack up their ra­dio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal da­ta at #ES­MO21, a key de­bate takes shape

Ten years ago, a small Norwegian biotech by the name of Algeta showed up at ESMO — then the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Conference 2011 — and declared that its Bayer-partnered targeted radionuclide therapy, radium-223 chloride, boosted the overall survival of castration-resistant prostate cancer patients with symptomatic bone metastases.

In a Phase III study dubbed ALSYMPCA, patients who were treated with radium-223 chloride lived a median of 14 months compared to 11.2 months. The FDA would stamp an approval on it based on those data two years later, after Bayer snapped up Algeta and christened the drug Xofigo.

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Raju Mohan, Ventyx Biosciences CEO

Months af­ter a mam­moth raise, Ven­tyx Bio­sciences dips back in­to ven­ture well

Several months after emerging from what CEO Raju Mohan called “quiet mode” with a mammoth $114 million raise, Ventyx Biosciences is now making its plans for the clinic loud and clear.

The California-based immune modulation player kicked the week off with a $51 million Series B, while also naming some key hires ahead of its big clinical push.

The CMO slot is going to Jörn Drappa, former CMO at Viela Bio before it was bought out by Horizon Therapeutics earlier this year. The AstraZeneca vet stayed on at Horizon for a while as executive VP of R&D before making the jump to Ventyx.

Mi­rati tri­umphs again in KRAS-mu­tat­ed lung can­cer with a close­ly watched FDA fil­ing now in the cards

After a busy weekend at #ESMO21, which included a big readout for its KRAS drug adagrasib in colon cancer, Mirati Therapeutics is ready to keep the pressure on competitor Amgen with lung cancer data that will undergird an upcoming filing.

In topline results from a Phase II cohort of its KRYSTAL-1 study, adagrasib posted a response rate of 43% in second-line-or-later patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer containing a KRAS-G12C mutation, Mirati said Monday.