It turns out the $34 million Series D PhaseBio announced just days ago was a prelude to a bigger story: With its newly honed orphan disease-focused strategy, the biotech is angling for an IPO worth at least $86 million.
The main draw remains PB2452, a reversal agent for the blood thinner Brilinta (ticagrelor) for use in acute situations where patients are experiencing active bleeding or require urgent surgery. PhaseBio licensed the drug — also known as an anti-anti-coagulant — late last year from MedImmune without disclosing the terms; we now know the deal is heavily back-ended with an upfront fee of only $100,000 and $68 million in total potential milestones.
MedImmune, the biologics arm of AstraZeneca (which markets Brilinta), also owns 5% of the stock, second only to New Enterprise Associates. Other major shareholders include Hatteras Venture Partners, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Fletcher Spaght Ventures, and board chairman Clay Thorp.
Though the drug has only just gone through Phase I, PhaseBio intends to hustle through a dose-finding Phase IIa and begin a larger Phase II trial in the second half of 2019 with money from the public raise.
“PB2452 can be developed in a much shorter time period, and it will pay for us to develop PB1046,” their in-house asset for pulmonary arterial hypertension, CEO Jonathan Mow told me in a recent interview. “So even though it’s only in Phase I, we will get to the later stages of development much more quickly than we will with PB1046.”
Compared to PB2452, PB1046 strikes closer to PhaseBio’s roots — it’s been in the pipeline for some time, and is based on the “elastin-like polypeptides” platform tech that the company was founded on. The therapeutic fusion proteins created on this platform undergo a fully reversible phase transition — thereby significantly extending their half lives. That allows for PB1046 to be dosed once-weekly, an extra advantage combined with its novel mechanism of action that Mow believes would give it a shot in the competitive PAH market.
Proceeds from the IPO would also pay for PhaseBio to explore additional indications for PB1046, which is currently in Phase II, as well as “development of our ELP technology and preclinical programs.”
It would be a sizable infusion of cash for the company, which until three months ago had only $8.7 million in the bank.
The Malvern, PA-based biotech plans to list under the symbol $PHAS.
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