Three more biotechs hit Nasdaq as the sector, now with more than $13B raised, continues barreling toward record
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After a summer slumber, the biotech IPO market is back in full swing with three new pricings dropping Wednesday and two SPACs entering the ring.
DiCE Therapeutics and Tyra Biosciences each hit Nasdaq on Wednesday with nine-figure raises, while small-cap Pasithea Therapeutics also debuted with a $24 million raise. The pricings have pushed the combined industry raise north of $13 billion so far in 2021, per the Endpoints News tracker, a figure likely to eclipse last year’s record total of $16.5 billion.
If the pace stays the same from now until New Year’s Eve, the biotech sector will end up raising about $18.8 billion this year.
Here’s a look at the industry’s newest public companies:
A good roll for Kevin Judice’s biotech
DiCE will debut at $17 per share, the high end of its range, in what comes out to a $204 million haul for the biotech.
Speculation about an IPO had swirled since CEO Kevin Judice put out a terse press release last month saying the company raised $60 million. After proving an enthusiastic interview earlier this year following a Series C, the cryptic August statement stood out as odd. The SEC does require essential radio silence in the run-up to an IPO.
Now, the world can see where those efforts have led. Most of the IPO funds will be directed toward their lead candidate, an IL-17 antagonist, and other programs looking to hit that target. DiCE initially slated $90 million to go toward these candidates, but that was when they expected a smaller IPO raise of about $144 million.
As the biotech gets ready for potential commercialization, the S-1 revealed a few weeks ago that a deal with Roche’s Genentech ended in June after only $6 million in payments. Sanofi paid more, putting up $9 million and adding another $9 million in a deal with up to $200 million in milestones.
DiCE is looking to compete with Novartis’ Cosentyx and Eli Lilly’s Taltz among IL-17 meds, but the biotech is going after an oral administration in the hopes of differentiating itself. DiCE is still preclinical but applied to start a Phase I study in the UK in July.
The biotech will trade under the ticker $DICE.
A Norse is a Norse, of course, of course
Tyra, meanwhile, has priced at the high end of $16, totaling $173 million for its IPO raise.
This biotech, too, was likely to raise more than its initial $100 million estimate, given that it had pulled in $160 million over its lifetime before filing the S-1. Like DiCE, Tyra — named after the Norse god Tyr — is backed by RA Capital Management, who owns a 20% pre-offering stake in the company. Boxer Capital also has the same size stake, while Alta Partners and Canaan have also contributed repeatedly leading to 13% and 14.6% stakes, respectively.
Tyra has developed a platform it calls SNAP, which involves shooting X-ray beams to discover the three-dimensional structure of a particular protein. It’s not a new approach, but Tyra’s in-house team collects the so-called “SNAPshots” two to five times a week, giving researchers an atom-by-atom look at how a drug is binding to a specific protein.
Right now, Tyra’s pipeline will be targeted at the fibroblast growth factor receptor, or FGFR, family, with the lead program starting off at FGFR3. Known as TYRA-300, the candidate is being studied in muscle invasive bladder cancer and solid tumors, and about $19 million of the IPO raise will be funneled here to push it through a Phase I/II study.
Another $20 million each or so will go toward two additional programs, one targeting FGFR2 and the other going after FGFR3. Tyra will trade under the ticker $TYRA.
No drugs? No problem
Rounding out Wednesday’s group, Pasithea priced at just $5 per share, or the low end of its range for a $24 million raise.
The Miami Beach, FL-based biotech is aiming to treat psychiatric and neurologic disorders, per the company’s S-1, but does not currently have a pipeline. It’s still focusing on discovery work for three candidates, with the hopes of going after a “moonshot” approach and completely new mechanisms of action.
As a result, Pasithea wants to go after the underlying pathology of conditions like major depressive disorder, rather than other players in the field it says have developed therapeutics targeting symptoms.
The S-1 makes several mentions of the potential use of ketamine in UK research, but it’s unclear if the drugs Pasithea wants to develop will center around the psychedelic.
Two SPACs look to give biotechs a blank check
One new SPAC priced Wednesday and another filed for an IPO late Tuesday, illustrating the SPAC attack is back on track. Aesther Healthcare Acquisition priced at $100 million, while Arbor Rapha Capital Bioholdings I penciled in a $150 million raise estimate.
The first blank-check company is run by Suren Ajjarapu, co-founder and CEO of TRxADE Health, an online marketplace for pharmaceutical companies. Ajjarapu’s company debuted on Nasdaq in February 2020. Arbor Rapha Capital Bioholdings I, meanwhile, comes from Arbor Realty Trust CEO Ivan Kaufman.
SPACs are back on the move after a relative lull earlier this year when regulators indicated they’d be cracking down on how financial institutions are internally policing the blank check companies.