Shortly after its latest mega-round, Sirnaomics CEO Patrick Lu says it's time to go public
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After briefly putting off an IPO to pull in a $105 million Series E round earlier this month, Sirnaomics has filed for a Hong Kong public debut.
CEO Patrick Lu is planning on using about half the proceeds to develop and (if all goes well) commercialize one of the company’s lead small interfering RNA (siRNA) candidates, STP705. Back in December, Sirnaomics said the candidate helped clear tumor cells in patients with squamous cell skin cancer in a Phase IIa trial.
siRNA therapeutics were popularized by Alnylam, which scored the first OK in the field with Onpattro back in 2018. They work by kicking off action in the RNA-induced silencing complex, which then goes on to cleave a specific mRNA, thereby downregulating target genes.
However, Sirnaomics thinks it has a better vehicle to carry the siRNA cargo to cells: a polypeptide nanoparticle, or PNP. The peptide is biodegradable, offers protection to the siRNA while in the bloodstream, and can carry multiple siRNA sequences, allowing the company’s products to go after multiple genes at once.
“Based on successful clinical and preclinical studies, a future clinical focus will be targeted towards immune oncological evaluation, with combination design of the novel RNAi drug candidate and immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as PD-1/PD-L1 monoclonal antibodies,” Sirnaomics said.
Lu is tagging about 6.8% of the IPO funds for finishing Phase IIb and III trials in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, and another 10.1% for other STP705 trials. Another 12.7% of the proceeds are going toward STP707, the company’s other dual-targeting siRNA. Both STP707 and STP705 target TGF-β1 and COX-2. According to Sirnaomics’ IPO filing, the company is planning to put STP707 in clinical trials for liver cancer, metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, and non-small cell lung cancer.
“At Sirnaomics specifically, we are forging a path to bring RNAi therapeutics to the mainstream as therapeutic modalities for treatment of many diseases, such as non-melanoma skin cancer, liver cancer, liver fibrosis and NASH,” Lu said in 2019, upon landing a $47 million Series C round.
The company, headquartered in Maryland, has subsidiaries in Suzhou and Guangzhou, China. It has several other candidates in the pipeline to treat a range of conditions from Covid-19 to cardiometabolic diseases.
“We aim to capture both the largest market in the world (U.S.) and one of the fastest growing markets in the world (China),” the company said in its IPO filing.