Yao-Chang Xu, Abbisko Therapeutics founder and CEO

Qim­ing-backed Ab­bisko makes $200M+ Hong Kong de­but, as a SPAC and Agenus spin­out al­so price on Nas­daq

Three new en­ti­ties priced their pub­lic de­buts late Thurs­day and ear­ly Fri­day, in­clud­ing a SPAC, a tra­di­tion­al Nas­daq IPO and a Chi­nese biotech join­ing the Hong Kong In­dex.

Shang­hai-based Ab­bisko Ther­a­peu­tics raised the most mon­ey of the tri­umvi­rate, gar­ner­ing $226 mil­lion in its Hong Kong de­but and pric­ing at HK$12.46, or rough­ly $1.60 in US dol­lars. The blank check com­pa­ny fol­lowed up with a $150 mil­lion raise, while MiNK Ther­a­peu­tics priced on Nas­daq at $12 per share and a $40 mil­lion raise.

As the IPO mar­ket con­tin­ues to heat back up af­ter a sum­mer lull, the biotech sec­tor re­cent­ly passed the $14 bil­lion mark in com­bined funds raised, per the End­points News tal­ly. That has al­lowed the in­dus­try to re­main on pace to sur­pass last year’s record sum of $16.5 bil­lion across 91 Nas­daq de­buts, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the stock ex­change.

Here’s a look at each of the en­ti­ties:

Ab­bisko makes a Hong Kong de­but

Ab­bisko was found­ed in 2016 and saw sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment a few years lat­er from promi­nent Chi­na VC firm Qim­ing Ven­ture Part­ners.

Back in 2019, Qim­ing led the biotech’s $42 mil­lion Se­ries B round, get­ting Ab­bisko primed and ready to sub­mit its can­cer drugs for INDs. The fundraise came short­ly af­ter the biotech moved in­to Glax­o­SmithK­line’s old digs where founder Yao-Chang Xu aimed to set up a con­tract re­search ven­ture for Eli Lil­ly.

The biotech has part­nered with As­traZeneca for its lead pro­gram, a pan-FGFR in­hibitor be­ing stud­ied as a monother­a­py and in com­bi­na­tion ther­a­pies to treat urothe­lial car­ci­no­ma. Ab­bisko’s last up­date for the pro­gram came in April, when it said it would “soon” be launch­ing Phase Ib/II tri­als for the pro­gram in Chi­na.

Ab­bisko has sev­er­al oth­er FGFR-re­lat­ed pro­grams in its pipeline, in­clud­ing ones look­ing at FGFR19-pos­i­tive he­pa­to­cel­lu­lar car­ci­no­ma and oth­er sol­id tu­mors. Re­searchers are al­so work­ing on a slate of im­muno-on­col­o­gy pro­grams for things like tenosyn­ovial gi­ant cell tu­mors, graft ver­sus host dis­ease and triple neg­a­tive breast can­cer.

Fri­day’s de­but on the Hong Kong In­dex comes about nine months af­ter Ab­bisko raised $123 mil­lion in a Se­ries D round last Jan­u­ary. That round, in ad­di­tion to par­tic­i­pa­tion from Qim­ing, was led by The Car­lyle Group. Qim­ing said in a re­lease the biotech is de­but­ing with a mar­ket cap of more than $1.1 bil­lion.

An­oth­er SPAC lands on Nas­daq

The newest health­care SPAC to hit Nas­daq comes from a pair of in­vestors that raised $150 mil­lion for the en­ter­prise.

The SPAC, known as San­a­by Health Ac­qui­si­tion Corp. I, is run by San­dra Sh­pil­berg and Tim­o­thy Zan­ni. Sh­pil­berg is the founder of Seek­er Health, a dig­i­tal health­care en­roll­ment plat­form that was ac­quired by pa­tient sup­port ser­vice Ever­sana in 2018. Zan­ni, mean­while, spent 30 years at the Dutch pro­fes­sion­al ser­vices net­work KP­MG and re­tired in Sep­tem­ber 2020.

San­a­by’s S-1 con­tained much of the same boil­er­plate text used by near­ly every life sci­ences SPAC dur­ing the cur­rent boom. Its ac­qui­si­tion strat­e­gy will cen­ter around buzzy phras­es like “re­spon­si­ble in­no­va­tion” and “proven trac­tion,” with the caveat that it can still choose to re­verse-merge with a com­pa­ny from any sec­tor.

Like any SPAC, San­a­by will have two years to find a part­ner be­fore it’s re­quired to re­turn the funds to in­vestors.

Agenus spin­out set to start trad­ing

MiNK Ther­a­peu­tics comes to Nas­daq with a mod­est raise of $40 mil­lion and a lead al­lo­gene­ic nat­ur­al killer T cell ther­a­py ex­pect­ing a read­out be­fore the end of the year.

Re­searchers are study­ing the pro­gram, known as AGENT-797, in sol­id tu­mors, re­lapsed or re­frac­to­ry mul­ti­ple myelo­ma, GvHD and ARDS re­lat­ed to Covid-19. The mul­ti­ple myelo­ma por­tion of the tri­als will like­ly read out be­fore 2021 is out, MiNK said in the S-1, while the oth­er parts come lat­er.

The GvHD study will launch some­time this quar­ter, and MiNK plans to study the pro­gram in sol­id tu­mors both as a monother­a­py and in com­bi­na­tion with check­point in­hibitors — with da­ta for both com­ing in the first half of 2022. MiNK was spun out of Agenus back in 2017, and Agenus owns an 83% stake in the com­pa­ny. MiNK will trade un­der the tick­er $INKT.

Raymond Stevens, Structure Therapeutics CEO

Be­hind Fri­day's $161M IPO: A star sci­en­tist, GPCR drug dis­cov­ery and a plan to chal­lenge phar­ma in di­a­betes

What does it take to pull off a $161 million biotech IPO these days?

In Structure Therapeutics’ case, it means having a star scientist co-founder paired with the computational drug discovery company Schrödinger, $198 million in private funding from blue-chip investors, almost six years of research work on G protein-coupled receptors and a slate of oral, small-molecule drugs, with an eye on the huge and growing diabetes and weight-loss market.

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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

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Teresa Graham, incoming Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO

In­com­ing Roche CEO builds out his top team, tap­ping Genen­tech vet to lead phar­ma di­vi­sion

Roche announced another leadership shuffle Thursday morning – the head of global product strategy, Teresa Graham, will take over as CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals in March while the company’s corporate executive committee will make a spot for Levi Garraway, CMO and executive VP of global product development.

Thomas Schinecker will take over the top spot as Roche group CEO in March, leaving his spot as head of diagnostics.

Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.

Af­ter 13 years, Ramy Mah­moud steps in­to CEO seat at Opti­nose; Ru­pert Vessey set to ex­it Bris­tol My­ers in Ju­ly

After 13 years as president and COO at Optinose, Ramy Mahmoud has stepped into a new role as its CEO. He is taking the place of Peter Miller, who stepped down earlier this week, though Miller is still staying with the company as a consultant.

In 2010, the two business partners joined Optinose to take it in a new direction, transforming it from a delivery platform to product company. They previously worked together at Johnson & Johnson, when Miller was president at Janssen and Mahmoud headed medical affairs. Miller said after he learned about Optinose, “I did what I always do, which is find people smarter than me to talk with about the idea. And the first person I called was Ramy … and I said, ‘Hey, Ramy, what do you think of this technology?’”

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Te­va drops out of in­dus­try trade group PhRMA

Following in AbbVie’s footsteps, Teva confirmed on Friday that it’s dropping out of the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Teva didn’t give a reason for its decision to leave, saying only in a statement to Endpoints News that it annually reviews “effectiveness and value of engagements, consultants and memberships to ensure our investments are properly seated.”

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Sanofi CFO Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon (L) and CEO Paul Hudson (Romuald Meigneux/Sipa via AP Images)

Sanofi sees downtick in flu sales as it preps for launch of RSV an­ti­body

Sanofi expects its RSV antibody jointly developed with AstraZeneca will be available next season, executive VP of vaccines Thomas Triomphe announced on the company’s quarterly call.

Beyfortus, also known as nirsevimab, was approved in the EU back in November and is currently under FDA review with an expected decision coming in the third quarter of this year. The news comes as the FDA plans to hold advisory committee meetings over the next couple months to review RSV vaccines from Pfizer and GSK.

Christophe Weber, Takeda CEO (Photographer: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Take­da fo­cus­es on ‘di­verse’ pipeline prospects on heels of two ac­qui­si­tions

After a whopping $4 billion asset buy from Nimbus Therapeutics, along with a $400 million deal with Hutchmed for a colorectal cancer drug, Takeda executives touted pipeline optimism on its latest earnings call this week.

That’s because the TYK2 inhibitor for psoriasis Takeda is getting from Nimbus, along with the Hutchmed fruquintinib commercialization outside of China, are just two of what it reports are 10 late-stage development programs of promising candidates.

Regeneron CSO George Yancopoulos (L) and CEO Len Schleifer at a groundbreaking for its new Tarrytown, NY facility, June 2022 (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In show­down with Roche, Re­gen­eron gears up for po­ten­tial Eylea ex­pan­sion amid Covid de­cline

Regeneron faced a substantial slump in overall revenue last year, but the focus still remains on some of its biggest blockbusters.

The pharma with several high-profile partnerships — Sanofi and Bayer among them — said Friday that Q4 revenue was down 31% for the quarter, and down 24% for the entire year. However, that won’t stop blockbuster expansion plans.

One of those is Eylea, the Bayer-partnered eye disease drug that has been in major competition with Roche’s Vabysmo. While Eylea is currently only approved in a 2 mg dose, the company recently filed for approval to give a 8 mg dose, in hopes of making a longer-lasting treatment.