Sofinnova Telethon Fund backs Naldini's gene therapy biotech; ORIC prices $75M IPO
→ The Sofinnova Telethon Fund has found a new gene therapy upstart to back. The fund selected Genespire for its portfolio, tapping a biotech inspired by the work of Luigi Naldini, a legendary scientist in the field. The biotech was founded last month by Naldini, professor Alessio Cantore, The Telethon Foundation and San Raffaele Hospital. It is a spin-off of SR-Tiget. Graziano Seghezzi, managing partner of Paris-based Sofinnova Partners, plays a big role in allocating the funds. This is Sofinnova’s third investment in 6 months, totaling €25 million.
→ Nearly two months after first filing for an $86 million IPO, ORIC Pharmaceuticals has priced at only a slightly lower number: $75 million, with 5 million shares going between $14 and $16. That the economic freeze has only nominally shifted ORIC’s public offering reflects investors’ continued faith in biotech despite — and in some cases because of — the pandemic. The South San Francisco-based cancer biotech will use the bulk of the proceeds from the IPO to advance its lead drug, ORIC-101, in prostate cancer and other solid tumors.
→ A week after signing a deal with longtime rival Alnylam, Dicerna is losing its CMO. Ralf Rosskamp, who came to Dicerna from Summit Therapeutics in 2017, will be retiring, the company announced in an SEC filing. The longtime biotech executive will remain at the company until a replacement is found and consult until June 2021.