Jeong-woo Cho (SK Biopharmaceuticals)

SK Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals emerges from pan­dem­ic with pitch for $822M IPO

The live­ly biotech IPO streak isn’t con­fined in the US — or even Hong Kong for that mat­ter.

On Mon­day, SK Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals re­vealed that it’s eye­ing $822 mil­lion in what would be the coun­try’s biggest pub­lic de­but in three years.

Plans for the IPO be­gan as ear­ly as last Oc­to­ber, when SK filed a pre­lim­i­nary ap­pli­ca­tion to the Ko­re­an Ex­change. Ex­pec­ta­tions were high, with an­a­lysts pre­dict­ing that it could fetch up­wards of 1 tril­lion won (close to $850 mil­lion).

But the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic de­layed those plans, as trav­el re­stric­tions and lock­downs made it im­pos­si­ble for ex­ecs to meet in­ter­na­tion­al in­vestors.

As the lo­cal out­break in South Ko­rea ap­pears to come un­der con­trol, though, ex­ecs are in a dif­fer­ent state of mind, with their con­cerns per­haps part­ly as­suaged by how US biotechs con­tin­ue to thrive on the Nas­daq.

“We made an in­ter­nal de­ci­sion that there was no rea­son to put off our IPO plans,” CEO Jeong-woo Cho said in a vir­tu­al con­fer­ence, ac­cord­ing to the Ko­rea Her­ald. “No mat­ter how se­ri­ous the coro­n­avirus would be, those af­fect­ed by epilep­sy still suf­fer from seizures.”

He was re­fer­ring to cenoba­mate, the epilep­sy drug that was ap­proved in the US last No­vem­ber just af­ter it ini­ti­at­ed the process of go­ing pub­lic back home. Re­cent­ly launched as Xco­pri, the pill was tout­ed as the first-ever FDA-ap­proved drug dis­cov­ered, de­vel­oped and now ful­ly owned by a Ko­re­an com­pa­ny.

SK Life Sci­ence, the US sub­sidiary of SK Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals (which was in turn a unit of an even big­ger con­glom­er­ate), is tasked with com­mer­cial­iz­ing the treat­ment state­side. The pitch cen­ters around how it helps 1 in 5 pa­tients achieve com­plete elim­i­na­tion of par­tial (fo­cal) on­set seizures.

But that’s not the on­ly com­mer­cial prod­uct SK Bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals claims for its port­fo­lio. There’s al­so sol­ri­amfe­tol, a treat­ment for sleep dis­or­ders that it out-li­censed to Jazz Phar­ma ear­ly on. Jazz mar­kets Sunosi in most mar­kets, but SK re­tained rights in cer­tain Asian ter­ri­to­ries.

The slate of ex­per­i­men­tal drugs in its pipeline, all in ear­ly- to mid-stage de­vel­op­ment, sim­i­lar­ly tar­gets neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders like Lennox-Gas­taut syn­drome, AD­HD and schiz­o­phre­nia, among oth­ers.

In­sti­tu­tion­al in­vestors will have the chance to stake their claims lat­er this week, which will to a large ex­tent de­ter­mine the fi­nal size of the IPO.

A new chap­ter in the de­cen­tral­ized clin­i­cal tri­al ap­proach

Despite the promised decentralized trial revolution, we haven’t yet moved the needle in a significant way, although we are seeing far bolder commitments to this as we continue to experience the pandemic restrictions for some time to come. The vision of grandeur is one thing, but operationalizing and execution are another and recognising that change, particularly mid-flight on studies, is worthy of thorough evaluation and consideration in order to achieve success. Here we will discuss one of the critical building blocks of a Decentralized and Remote Trial strategy: TeleConsent; more than paper under glass, it is a paradigm change and key digital enabler.

Su­per-se­cre­tive an­ti-ag­ing biotech Cal­i­co tees up the first vis­i­ble clin­i­cal tri­al of an ex­per­i­men­tal drug. And it’s for can­cer?

Over the past 7 years, Calico has been so much more than your average, run-of-the-mill secretive biotech players. It’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, to repurpose an old Winston Churchill line dating from the time he confronted the Iron Curtain surrounding Stalin’s thoughts.

Launched by industry legend Art Levinson of Genentech fame, with the infinitely deep pockets of Google for support, one of the few big headlines the anti-aging biotech has sparked focused on a major alliance with AbbVie — a giant outfit that conversely likes to show off its drug prospects whenever it can. Together, they’ve been focused on diseases that limit life span — quite an arc of ailments.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 91,900+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

RBC's Bri­an Abra­hams holds a mock ad­comm on Bio­gen's iffy ad­u­canum­ab da­ta — and most of these ex­perts don't see a path to an ap­proval

As catalysts go, few loom larger than the aducanumab adcomm slated for Nov. 6.

With its big franchise under assault, Biogen is betting the ranch that its mixed late-stage Alzheimer’s data can squeak past the experts and regulators and get onto the market. And the topic — after a decade of Alzheimer’s R&D disasters in what still represents the El Dorado of drug markets — remains in the center ring of discussions around late-stage pipeline prospects.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 91,900+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

IN8bio CEO William Ho (IN8bio)

Bring­ing their ge­net­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied gam­ma delta T cells to Nas­daq, IN8bio files for $86M IPO

The biotech IPO parade continues marching forward as 2020 turns toward the fourth quarter.

IN8bio, a New York-based company focused on genetically modified gamma delta T cell therapies, filed to go public Friday seeking an $86 million raise. The company has two clinical-stage candidates being studied in glioblastoma and leukemia, respectively.

By any stretch of the imagination, 2020 has already been a huge year for biotech, and nowhere does it appear more obvious than the vast amounts of companies hitting the public market.

Covid-19 roundup: Pars­ing Bourla, a top an­a­lyst sees im­proved chances for Pfiz­er vac­cine; Fau­ci: No sur­prise that Trump was hit by Covid-19

With a medley of adverse events hobbling the late-stage development of vaccines and drugs, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla’s latest — extended — timeline for the mRNA approach they’re working on with BioNTech is giving some top analysts added confidence that the pharma giant can come up with the regulatory goods next month.

Parsing Bourla’s language in his comments last week, SVB Leerink’s Geoffrey Porges notes that Bourla’s decision to say they “may” be able to nail down the positive efficacy of their vaccine in a matter of days — a big change from his earlier certainty — may also indicate a delay on that to early November.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 91,900+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

News brief­ing: Ab­b­Vie and Roche's Ven­clex­ta scores an­oth­er FDA OK; Im­muno­Gen nabs Chi­na deal with $40M cash

AbbVie and Roche’s Venclexta has gotten a new FDA thumbs up.

The pair announced Monday that regulators have approved the drug in combination with azacitidine or low-dose cytarabine for newly-diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia in adults who are 75 or older or those who can’t undergo intensive chemotherapy. This follows the drug’s accelerated approval in 2018 and positive data from two Phase III confirmatory trials.

James Sabry (Roche)

Roche's James Sabry inks his sec­ond AI deal in back-to-back pacts — this time part­ner­ing Genen­tech with Stan­ford spin­out Gen­e­sis Ther­a­peu­tics

Less than a week after Roche joined forces with Dyno Therapeutics to develop gene therapies using artificial intelligence, its giant subsidiary Genentech is hopping on the AI bandwagon with a different player.

Genentech has inked a deal with Stanford spinout Genesis Therapeutics to harness its AI power for drug development and discovery. Genesis is getting an upfront payment and milestones, but the companies are keeping the details under wraps for now. The Burlingame, CA-based biotech also stands to earn future royalties on any approved Genentech drugs that come from the deal.

Joe Biden (Carolyn Kaster, AP Images)

What about the Ger­man ne­go­ti­a­tion mod­el? Biden steers drug pric­ing de­bate to a show­down

From an ill-fated proposal to ban rebates for pharmacy benefit managers to an executive order demanding a “most-favored-nation price” for Medicare, if nothing else President Donald Trump has introduced Americans to a flurry of ideas to rein in pharma, an industry he once accused of “getting away with murder.” And now we’re getting the first glimpse of what a Joe Biden presidency might mean for prescription drug pricing.

En­do pays $658M in a fur­ther bet on col­la­gen-based med­i­cines, buy­ing out long­time bio­phar­ma part­ner

A little less than two years after Endo Pharmaceuticals’ deal to purchase Somerset Therapeutics fell through, the Irish drugmaker is returning to the well with a much bigger acquisition.

Endo has agreed to buy BioSpecifics Technologies for a whopping $658 million, the two companies announced Monday, in the culmination of a research agreement signed all the way back in 2004. Endo will purchase all of BioSpecifics’ outstanding stock for about $540 million, valuing the company at $88.50 per share — a 45% premium on the $61.02 share price at which the company closed on Friday.