Todd Harris (L) and Daniel Bensen (Tyra)

RA Cap­i­tal aims to take pre­clin­i­cal biotech to Nas­daq as Tyra files S-1 dur­ing sum­mer lull

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The sum­mer has brought a rel­a­tive breather to the IPO mar­ket af­ter sev­er­al months of boom­ing funds, but the biotech sec­tor saw a new fil­ing last Fri­day in Tyra Bio­sciences.

Based out of Carls­bad, CA, Tyra pen­ciled in a $100 mil­lion ask ahead of the week­end, com­ing less than five months af­ter it com­plet­ed a $106 mil­lion Se­ries B. Tyra’s ul­ti­mate raise may prove greater than the ini­tial es­ti­mate as it’s raised near­ly $160 mil­lion over­all, but the biotech has yet to get any of its ex­per­i­men­tal drugs in­to hu­man test­ing, with the lead pro­gram for blad­der can­cer ex­pect­ed to see an IND fil­ing in mid-2022.

RA Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment and Box­er Cap­i­tal have been there every step of the way for Tyra, and each will take home a nice IPO prize by virtue of own­ing a near­ly 20% stake pre-of­fer­ing. Al­ta Part­ners and Canaan have al­so con­tributed re­peat­ed­ly, lead­ing to 13% and 14.6% stakes, re­spec­tive­ly.

Tyra’s stat­ed goals all deal with en­sur­ing can­cer pa­tients can con­tin­ue tar­get­ed treat­ment should their tu­mors mu­tate or see their ther­a­pies stop work­ing. The biotech has de­vel­oped a plat­form it calls SNAP, which in­volves shoot­ing X-ray beams to dis­cov­er the three-di­men­sion­al struc­ture of a par­tic­u­lar pro­tein.

It’s not a new ap­proach, but Tyra is hop­ing to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it­self with a team that re­peat­ed­ly looks over the mod­els sev­er­al times per week, get­ting as close to an atom-by-atom per­spec­tive of its can­di­dates’ bind­ing process as it can. The pipeline as a whole will be tar­get­ed at the fi­brob­last growth fac­tor re­cep­tor, or FGFR, fam­i­ly, with the lead pro­gram start­ing off at FGFR3.

Known as TYRA-300, the can­di­date is be­ing stud­ied in mus­cle in­va­sive blad­der can­cer and sol­id tu­mors. The MIBC field has on­ly seen one FDA-ap­proved FGFR3 in­hibitor, and Tyra is aim­ing to po­si­tion it­self as a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion play­er by de­sign­ing TYRA-300 to avoid the phe­nom­e­non of “gate­keep­er mu­ta­tions” that it says have lim­it­ed the ef­fi­ca­cy of that drug, J&J’s Balver­sa.

Funds from the IPO will go to­ward launch­ing a Phase I/II clin­i­cal tri­al for this pro­gram and tak­ing it through the Phase I por­tion, though it’s un­clear when the study will be­gin — and how much Tyra will spend — giv­en the IND is like­ly about a year away. The biotech al­so out­lined fund­ing plans for two oth­er pro­grams in the S-1: an FGFR2 in­hibitor and a sep­a­rate FGFR3 pro­gram for achon­dropla­sia.

Two founders and mem­bers of Tyra’s C-suite will be adding to their per­son­al bank ac­counts as well. CEO Todd Har­ris gets a 7.2% stake ahead of the IPO, while COO Daniel Bensen has a 2.7% piece of the pie.

Though the groundswell of biotech IPOs has slowed down in Au­gust, 2021 is still on pace to eclipse 2020’s record year. More than 80 com­pa­nies have com­bined to raise near­ly $13 bil­lion, in the first sev­en and a half months of the year, per the End­points News’ tal­ly. Last year, 91 biotechs raised $16.5 bil­lion in IPOs, ac­cord­ing to Nas­daq fig­ures.

Biotech Half­time Re­port: Af­ter a bumpy year, is biotech ready to re­bound?

The biotech sector has come down firmly from the highs of February as negative sentiment takes hold. The sector had a major boost of optimism from the success of the COVID-19 vaccines, making investors keenly aware of the potential of biopharma R&D engines. But from early this year, clinical trial, regulatory and access setbacks have reminded investors of the sector’s inherent risks.

RBC Capital Markets recently surveyed investors to take the temperature of the market, a mix of specialists/generalists and long-only/ long-short investment strategies. Heading into the second half of the year, investors mostly see the sector as undervalued (49%), a large change from the first half of the year when only 20% rated it as undervalued. Around 41% of investors now believe that biotech will underperform the S&P500 in the second half of 2021. Despite that view, 54% plan to maintain their position in the market and 41% still plan to increase their holdings.

Covid-19 vac­cine boost­ers earn big thumbs up, but Mod­er­na draws ire over world sup­ply; What's next for Mer­ck’s Covid pill?; The C-suite view on biotech; 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.

You may remember that at the beginning of this year, Endpoints News set a goal to go broader and deeper. We are still working towards that, and are excited to share that Beth Snyder Bulik will be joining us on Monday to cover all things pharma marketing. You can sign up for her weekly Endpoints MarketingRx newsletter in your reader profile.

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No­var­tis de­vel­op­ment chief John Tsai: 'We go deep in the new plat­form­s'

During our recent European Biopharma Summit, I talked with Novartis development chief John Tsai about his experiences over the 3-plus years he’s been at the pharma giant. You can read the transcript below or listen to the exchange in the link above.

John Carroll: I followed your career for quite some time. You’ve had more than 20 years in big pharma R&D and you’ve obviously seen quite a lot. I really was curious about what it was like for you three and a half years ago when you took over as R&D chief at Novartis. Obviously a big move, a lot of changes. You went to work for the former R&D chief of Novartis, Vas Narasimhan, who had his own track record there. So what was the biggest adjustment when you went into this position?

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Amit Etkin, Alto Neuroscience CEO (Alto via Vimeo)

A star Stan­ford pro­fes­sor leaves his lab for a start­up out to re­make psy­chi­a­try

About five years ago, Amit Etkin had a breakthrough.

The Stanford neurologist, a soft-spoken demi-prodigy who became a professor while still a resident, had been obsessed for a decade with how to better define psychiatric disorders. Drugs for depression or bipolar disorder didn’t work for many patients with the conditions, and he suspected the reason was how traditional diagnoses didn’t actually get at the heart of what was going on in a patient’s brain.

Susan Galbraith, Executive VP, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca

As­traZeneca on­col­o­gy R&D chief Su­san Gal­braith: 'Y­ou're go­ing to need or­thog­o­nal com­bi­na­tion­s'


Earlier in the week we broadcast our 4th annual European Biopharma Summit with a great lineup of top execs. One of the one-on-one conversations I set up was with Susan Galbraith, the oncology research chief at AstraZeneca. In a wide-ranging discussion, Galbraith reviewed the cancer drug pipeline and key trends influencing development work at the pharma giant. You can watch the video, above, or stick with the script below. — JC

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Roche's Tecen­triq cross­es the fin­ish line first in ad­ju­vant lung can­cer, po­ten­tial­ly kick­ing off gold rush

While falling behind the biggest PD-(L)1 drugs in terms of sales, Roche has looked to carve out a space for its Tecentriq with a growing expertise in lung cancer. The drug will now take an early lead in the sought-after adjuvant setting — but competitors are on the way.

The FDA on Friday approved Tecentriq as an adjuvant therapy for patients with Stage II-IIIA non small cell lung cancer with PD-(L)1 scores greater than or equal to 1, making it the first drug of its kind approved in an early setting that covers around 40% of all NSCLC patients.

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.

Paul Grayson, Tentarix CEO (Versant)

Phar­ma vet­er­ans re­group with $50M and a plan to dis­cov­er new mul­ti-specifics

While a horde of drugmakers develops bispecific antibodies to more directly target tumor cells — there were about 100 programs in or nearing clinical trials back in May — a new company is emerging to go one step further.

On Thursday, Tentarix Biotherapeutics unveiled a $50 million Series A round to support its next-gen multi-specifics platform. While the field has largely focused on bispecifics, which engage two targets, Tentarix believes its multifunctional programs have the potential to be even more specific, since more conditions must be met for potent activity to occur.

Tillman Gerngross, Adagio CEO

Q&A: Till­man Gern­gross ex­plains why his Covid mAb will have an edge over an al­ready crowd­ed field

If anyone knows about monoclonal antibodies, it’s serial entrepreneur, Adimab CEO, and Dartmouth professor of bioengineering Tillman Gerngross.

Even the name of Gerngross’ new antibody startup Adagio Therapeutics is meant to reflect his vision behind the development of his Covid-19 mAb: slowly, he said, explaining that “everyone else, whether it’s Regeneron, Lilly, or AstraZeneca, Vir, they all valued speed over everything.”

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