Relay reaps $400M IPO windfall after drawing the curtain on motion-based drug design pipeline
A red-hot venture market back in 2018 propelled Relay Therapeutics to a whopping $400 million crossover round. And now, the biotech is riding on a red-hot IPO market to a public debut that brought in the same exact amount.
The $400 million raise breaks down to 20 million shares sold at $20 each — above even the amended proposed range of $16 to $18.
It’s also double what Relay had penciled in with the initial S-1 filing, in yet another illustration that those figures are often nothing more than a placeholder these days.
On a mission to pivot from the industry standard structure-based drug design to “motion-based drug design,” Relay’s Dynamo platform promises to find better ways to drug a target protein by simulating its dynamic over time.
“The whole beauty of enzymes is that they actually move,” Dorothee Kern, a Brandeis professor and one of four scientist co-founders, previously told Endpoints News. “And if they don’t move they are dead. There’s a reason life doesn’t exist below 180 kelvin.”
Together with billionaire David Shaw, Matthew Jacobson of UCSF and Mark Murcko of MIT (and with the help of Third Rock) Kern found a way to incorporate troves of genomic data, new experimental techniques and machine learning into the company — buzzy concepts that lured SoftBank, GV and Foresite, among others, into the syndicate.
As the team, led by CEO Sanjiv Patel, has played its cards close to the vest burning through $214 million, the IPO documents offered the first glimpse at the lead programs, now in Phase I.
They recognize they are not the only ones eyeing these targets. RLY-1971 will be competing with Revolution Medicines (partnered with Sanofi) and Jacobio Pharmaceuticals (partnered with AbbVie) in the SHP2 space. And RLY-4008 has even more rivals also pursuing FGFR2, including Incyte, Janssen, Eisai and Otsuka subsidiary Taiho, as well as Chinese player InnoCore.
Then there’s the mutant-selective PI3Kα inhibitor program, for which Relay plans to select a candidate with the proceeds. It’s going up against Piqray, marketed by giant Novartis, in addition to experimental efforts at Roche and others.
So Relay has plenty to prove.
SoftBank Vision Fund retains the largest chunk of stock — 32.12% — after the offering, while Third Rock kept 15.38%.