Per­cep­tive fields SPAC #3 as an­oth­er group of biotechs scoops up $364M in lat­est Nas­daq romp

There’s no sign that the wind­fall of cash drop­ping biotech’s way on Wall Street is abat­ing. Three more bio­phar­mas priced IPOs on Thurs­day and Fri­day morn­ing, rid­ing a his­toric boom with a $364 mil­lion pay­off.

Lon­don-based biotech Free­line Ther­a­peu­tics took home the li­on’s share of the cash with $159 mil­lion af­ter pric­ing 8,823,529 shares at $18 a pop. Check­mate Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, of Cam­bridge, MA, raised $75 mil­lion with an of­fer of 5 mil­lion shares at $15 — right at the mid­point of its range. And Arya Sci­ences Ac­qui­si­tion Corp III, the third in a se­ries from Per­cep­tive, priced 13,000,000 shares at $10 per share.

Drug­mak­ers are se­cur­ing big sums amid the pan­dem­ic boom, in­clud­ing AlloVir, which bagged $276 mil­lion from 16.3 mil­lion shares last week. Ini­tial­ly, the com­pa­ny had filed for a $100 mil­lion IPO. By June, all 23 new­ly pub­lic com­pa­nies had priced above their mid­point or up­sized their of­fer­ing.

And there’s more com­ing: Kymera Ther­a­peu­tics an­nounced plans to go pub­lic on Mon­day, when it filed for a $100 mil­lion IPO.

Check­mate ini­tial­ly filed for an IPO on Ju­ly 17, then raised its max­i­mum of­fer­ing price to $92 mil­lion in an amend­ed S-1 fil­ing. The im­muno-on­col­o­gy biotech is in­ves­ti­gat­ing its drug CMP-001 across mul­ti­ple can­cers, in­clud­ing melanoma and head and neck squa­mous cell car­ci­no­ma (HN­SCC), and says it will use the funds to ad­vance clin­i­cal tri­als. Bo­fA Se­cu­ri­ties, Jef­feries Group and BMO Cap­i­tal Mar­kets are man­ag­ing the deal.

CMP-001 us­es the im­mune sys­tem to its ad­van­tage, di­rect­ing ac­ti­vat­ed an­ti-tu­mor T cells to at­tack both the in­ject­ed tu­mor and tu­mors through­out the body. It’s been test­ed on more than 200 melanoma pa­tients to date, and based on clin­i­cal da­ta, the com­pa­ny be­lieves “there is an op­por­tu­ni­ty for CMP-001 to be de­vel­oped as a dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed im­muno-on­col­o­gy ther­a­py,” ac­cord­ing to the S-1 fil­ing.

Free­line ini­tial­ly filed for a $100 mil­lion IPO, with JP Mor­gan Se­cu­ri­ties LLC, Mor­gan Stan­ley & Co. and Ever­core Group as joint bookrun­ners. Its AAV gene-ther­a­py treat­ments tar­get he­mo­phil­ia A and B, Fab­ry dis­ease, and Type 1 Gauch­er dis­ease.

The biotech’s lead can­di­date, FLT180a, is cur­rent­ly in a Phase I/II tri­al for he­mo­phil­ia B. IPO funds will pro­pel the com­pa­ny’s pipeline, in­clud­ing Phase I/II tri­als for FLT180a and FLT190, a po­ten­tial drug to treat Fab­ry dis­ease.

SPACs (spe­cial pur­pose ac­qui­si­tion com­pa­nies) are ben­e­fit­ing from the boom, too. Once rare in the biotech world, they now rep­re­sent near­ly 35% of list­ings, Nas­daq’s Jay Heller told End­points last month.

Per­cep­tive Ad­vi­sors’ blank check com­pa­ny Arya III filed for a $143.7 mil­lion IPO on Ju­ly 21, and in­vestors are bet­ting on a prof­itable merg­er. In March, Arya I merged with biotech Im­mat­ics in a $252 mil­lion deal. Cerev­el Ther­a­peu­tics merged with Arya II in Ju­ly, ex­pect­ing to raise about $445 mil­lion to de­vel­op its pipeline.

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His­toric drug pric­ing re­forms pass; Pfiz­er ac­quires GBT; The long search for non-opi­oid pain drugs; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

The Endpoints Weekly has officially crossed the 60,000 mark on subscribers — thanks to all of your support. As the editorial team grows, we’ve been able to do a lot more, with many of those on display this week. Be sure to check out Lei Lei Wu’s deep dive on pain R&D. If you missed it, you may also rewatch her companion panel here.

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Gold for adults, sil­ver for in­fants: Pfiz­er's Pre­vnar 2.0 head­ed to FDA months af­ter Mer­ck­'s green light

Pfizer was first to the finish line for the next-gen pneumococcal vaccine in adults, but Merck beat its rival with a jab for children in June.

Now, two months after Merck’s 15-valent Vaxneuvance won the FDA stamp of approval for kids, Pfizer is out with some late-stage data on its 20-valent shot for infants.

Known as Prevnar 20 for adults, Pfizer’s 20vPnC will head to the FDA by the end of this year for an approval request in infants, the Big Pharma said Friday morning. Discussions with the FDA will occur first and more late-stage pediatric trials are expected to read out soon, informing the regulatory pathway in other countries and regions.

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Seagen interim CEO Roger Dansey and Daiichi Sankyo CEO Sunao Manabe

Paving the way for Mer­ck­'s buy­out, Seagen los­es ar­bi­tra­tion dis­pute with Dai­ichi over ADC tech

As Seagen awaits a final buyout offer from Merck that could be in the territory of $40 billion, Seagen revealed Friday afternoon that it lost an arbitration dispute with Daiichi Sankyo relating to the companies’ 2008 collaboration around the use of antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology.

But that loss likely won’t matter much when it comes to Merck’s deal.

After breaking off its pact with Daiichi in mid-2015, the two companies battled over “linker” tech — a chemical bridge between an ADC’s antibody component and the cytotoxic payload — that Seagen claims Daiichi would improve upon and implement in its current generation of ADCs.

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House pass­es his­toric drug pric­ing re­forms, lin­ing up decades-in-the-mak­ing win for Biden and De­moc­rats

The US House of Representatives today voted along party lines (all Dems voted for it), 220-207 to pass new, wide-ranging legislation that will allow Medicare drug price negotiations for the first time ever, and cap seniors’ drug expenses to $2,000 per year and seniors’ insulin costs at $35 per month.

Setting up a major victory for President Joe Biden, representatives returned from their summer recess to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, even as many noted the bill would only modestly reduce inflation.

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Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/POLITICO via AP Images)

Sen­ate Fi­nance chair con­tin­ues his in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to phar­ma tax­es with re­quests for Am­gen

Amgen is the latest pharma company to appear on the radar of Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR), who is investigating the way pharma companies are using subsidiaries in low- or zero-tax countries to lower their tax bills.

Like its peers Merck, AbbVie and Bristol Myers Squibb, Wyden notes how Amgen uses its Puerto Rico operations to consistently pay tax rates that are substantially lower than the U.S. corporate tax rate of 21%, with an effective tax rate of 10.7% in 2020 and 12.1% in 2021.

FDA ap­proves sec­ond in­di­ca­tion for As­traZeneca and Dai­ichi's En­her­tu in less than a week

AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s antibody-drug conjugate Enhertu scored its second approval in less than a week, this time for a subset of lung cancer patients.

Enhertu received accelerated approval on Thursday to treat adults with unresectable or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have activating HER2 (ERBB2) mutations, and who have already received a prior systemic therapy.

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J&J to re­move talc prod­ucts from shelves world­wide, re­plac­ing with corn­starch-based port­fo­lio

After controversially spinning out its talc liabilities and filing for bankruptcy in an attempt to settle 38,000 lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson is now changing up the formula for its baby powder products.

J&J is beginning the transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio, the pharma giant announced on Thursday — just months after a federal judge ruled in favor of its “Texas two-step” bankruptcy to settle allegations that its talc products contained asbestos and caused cancer. An appeals court has since agreed to revisit that case.

CSL is gathering its four business units under a unified brand identity strategy (Credit: CSL company site)

CSL brings Se­qirus, Vi­for un­der par­ent um­brel­la brand in iden­ti­ty re­vamp

CSL is gathering its brands under the family name umbrella, renaming its vaccine and newly acquired nephrology specialty businesses with the parent initials.

CSL Seqirus and CSL Vifor join CSL Plasma and CSL Behring as the four now uniformly branded business units of the global biopharma. The Seqirus vaccine division was formed in 2015 with the combination of bioCSL and its purchase of Novartis’ flu vaccine business. CSL picked up Vifor Pharma late last year in an $11.7 billion deal for the nephrology, iron deficiency and cardio-renal drug developer.

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