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The win­dow is wide open as four more biotechs join the go-go IPO class of 2020

It’s an­oth­er day of haul­ing cash in the bio­phar­ma world as four more IPOs priced Fri­day and a fifth filed its ini­tial pa­per­work.

The biggest of­fer­ing comes from PMV Phar­ma, an on­col­o­gy biotech fo­cus­ing on p53 mu­ta­tions, which raised $211.8 mil­lion af­ter pric­ing shares at $18 apiece. Pre­lude Ther­a­peu­tics, de­vel­op­ing PRMT5 in­hibitors for rare can­cers, was next with a $158 mil­lion raise, pric­ing shares at $19 each. Gray­bug Vi­sion raised $90 mil­lion af­ter pric­ing at $16 per share for its wet AMD can­di­dates, and breast can­cer biotech Green­wich Life­sciences brought up the rear with a small, $7 mil­lion raise af­ter pric­ing shares at $5.75.

Opthea, a South Yarra, Aus­tralia-based biotech al­so sub­mit­ted its F-1 pa­per­work, es­ti­mat­ing a raise of up to $150 mil­lion.

Through late Au­gust, the biotech in­dus­try had raised a com­bined $11 bil­lion-plus in four dozen IPOs per in­de­pen­dent an­a­lyst Brad Lon­car, sur­pass­ing the amount from all of 2019.

Jor­dan Saxe

Fri­day’s pric­ings move the 2020 to­tal to 56 to­tal pub­lic of­fer­ings in the in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to Nas­daq head of health­care list­ings Jor­dan Saxe. Nas­daq has count­ed $11.3 bil­lion raised for the 56 biotechs through Fri­day.

Saxe’s tal­ly al­so match­es Lon­car’s to­tal from 2018, which makes 2020 tied for the most biotech IPOs seen in any of the last four years. The boom this year is be­ing dri­ven by sev­er­al fac­tors, Saxe said, in­clud­ing the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic high­light­ing the al­ready-im­pres­sive amount of in­no­va­tion in the field, a steady in­crease of crossover in­vestors from the last few years and the fact that biotechs can pro­vide longer-term in­vest­ments than com­pa­nies re­liant on quar­ter-to-quar­ter sales num­bers.

“All of those fac­tors com­bined have added up and cre­at­ed this per­fect storm,” Saxe told End­points News. 

PMV’s move to go pub­lic comes a lit­tle over a month af­ter pulling in a $70 mil­lion Se­ries D round and hir­ing long­time biotech en­tre­pre­neur Rich Hey­man as chair­man of the board of di­rec­tors. Hey­man no­tably found­ed the biotechs Aragon and Ser­agon, each of which sold for more than $1 bil­lion in the span of 12 months back in 2013 and 2014.

Per its S-1, PMV will pri­mar­i­ly use the IPO funds to help push its lead can­di­date, PC14586, in­to a Phase I/II tri­al tar­get­ing cer­tain p53 mu­ta­tions ag­nos­tic to the tu­mor. P53 pro­teins play a piv­otal role in the body’s nat­ur­al de­fense mech­a­nism against can­cer, and PMV hopes its pro­grams can help re­store some of the func­tion lost when they mu­tate.

Pre­lude pro­vid­ed a de­tailed break­down in its fil­ing, show­ing just how they ex­pect to divvy up the IPO funds to fur­ther de­vel­op­ment. The com­pa­ny is plan­ning to spend be­tween $15 mil­lion to $20 mil­lion on each of its three lead pro­grams, in­clud­ing com­plet­ing Phase I tri­als in sol­id tu­mors, hema­to­log­i­cal ma­lig­nan­cies and some re­lapsed/re­frac­to­ry high risk can­cers. An­oth­er $30 mil­lion to $40 mil­lion will go to­ward its pre­clin­i­cal stud­ies of pro­grams com­ing up the pipeline.

Gray­bug al­so spec­i­fied how they’d use the IPO mon­ey, in­di­cat­ing about $17 mil­lion would fund tri­als for its lead pro­gram, cur­rent­ly in a Phase IIb for wet AMD. Some of the mon­ey is planned for the com­ple­tion of that tri­al, as well as start­ing up a par­al­lel Phase IIb in DME and the wet AMD Phase III should the ear­li­er study prove suc­cess­ful.

In its own fil­ing, Green­wich said that rough­ly $3 mil­lion of its raise will help com­plete man­u­fac­tur­ing of its GP2 prod­uct and en­roll the first 50 to 100 pa­tients in a Phase III tri­al. Opthea aims to be­gin two Phase III tri­als in wet AMD and ad­vance non-clin­i­cal stud­ies for a po­ten­tial com­bi­na­tion ther­a­py.

With a full quar­ter left in the year, Saxe said he doesn’t ex­pect the biotech train to slow down any­time soon. He pegged a “con­ser­v­a­tive” es­ti­mate of 65-70 biotech IPOs by New Year’s.

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The “Asthma Behaving Badly” characters aren’t only on the walls at AZ to show the new campaign to employees, however. The “Phils” are also showing up online on the campaign website, and in digital and social ads and posts on Facebook and Instagram.

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Lentivi­ral vec­tor ramp-up: J&J and Leg­end to in­vest $500M in New Jer­sey man­u­fac­tur­ing to sup­port Carvyk­ti

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With an eye on their BCMA-directed CAR-T therapy Carvykti (cilta-cel), approved in February as a fifth-line treatment for multiple myeloma, Legend CEO Ying Huang said that the ramp-up in production and the decision to manufacture its own lentiviral vectors — currently in shortage worldwide — means they won’t have to deal with that shortage.

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The cancer-focused, CAR-T cell therapy player made the announcement Monday, saying that the federal regulatory agency gave the green light to Kite’s 100,000 square-foot, retroviral vector manufacturing facility in Oceanside, CA.

Kite’s global head of technical operations Chris McDonald tells Endpoints News that the facility has been in the works for about four years, after Kite teamed up with its parent company Gilead. Gilead acquired Kite Pharma for just shy of $12 billion in 2017.

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In the campaign, Arians talks about the potential for “great comebacks” in football and heart health. Once nicknamed a “quarterback whisperer,” he is now retired from fulltime coaching (although still a front-office consultant for Tampa Bay), and did a round of media interviews for Novartis, including one with People and Forbes.

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Amy West, Novo Nordisk head of US digital innovation and transformation (Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

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Marc Dunoyer, Alexion CEO (AstraZeneca via YouTube)

Up­dat­ed: As­traZeneca nabs a small rare dis­ease gene ther­a­py play­er for 667% pre­mi­um

AstraZeneca is kicking off the fourth quarter with a little M&A Monday for a gene editing player recently overcoming a second clinical hold to its only program in human studies.

The Big Pharma and its subsidiary Alexion are buying out little LogicBio for $2.07 per share. That’s good for a massive 667% premium over its Friday closing price, when it headed into the weekend at 27 cents and just weeks after Nasdaq said LogicBio would have to delist, which has been put on hold as the biotech requests a hearing. It’s one of two biotech deals to commence October, alongside the news of Incyte buying a vitiligo-focused biotech.

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