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.