Sirnaomics puts off an IPO a little longer as it pockets another megaround. Is an S-1 around the corner this time?
Back in October, when small interfering RNA player Sirnaomics landed its Series D round, CEO Patrick Lu said he was open to preparing for an IPO “in (the) near future.” Those S-1 papers never came, and now Lu’s taking another trip down VC lane.
Sirnaomics unveiled a $105 million Series E round on Thursday, led by the same firm that led the last megaround: Rotating Boulder Fund. The biotech says it will pump the funds into its RNAi portfolio aimed at treating cancers, viral infections, fibrosis and metabolic diseases.
siRNA therapeutics were popularized by Alnylam, which scored the first OK in the field with Onpattro back in 2018. Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner at the time, said the approval was “part of a broader wave of advances that allow us to treat disease by actually targeting the root cause.”
siRNA kicks off action in the RNA-induced silencing complex, which then goes on to cleave a specific mRNA, thereby downregulating target genes. But 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.
Sirnaomics’ lead candidates — STP705 and STP707 — are dual targeting siRNAs against TGF-β1 and COX-2, and can be administered locally or systemically. In December, the company said Phase IIa results showed that STP705 helped clear tumor cells in patients with squamous cell skin cancer.
“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.
The Gaithersburg, MD-based biotech has a slate of other candidates in the works to treat a range of conditions, from Covid-19 to cardiometabolic diseases. Back in April, Lu struck a co-development deal with Walvax Biotechnology for its antiviral siRNA candidate STP702.
“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, shortly after nabbing a $47 million Series C round. He followed that up with a $105 million Series D just last year.
Though headquartered in Maryland, Sirnaomics has subsidiaries in Suzhou and Guangzhou, China.
The company wasn’t available for an interview before press time, but Lu mentioned in a statement that the company is entering its “next phase of growth.” Could that mean an IPO? Looks like we’ll have to wait and see.