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.
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.