Three more biotechs look to jump onto Nasdaq amid IPO boom, including Norbert Bischofberger's Kronos
Three drug developers announced plans to go public on Friday, a sign that the IPO window for biopharma is wide open.
First up is Daly City, CA-based Spruce Biosciences. They filed for an $86 million IPO to develop their pipeline for classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). Currently, only steroids are available to treat the condition, which affects the adrenal glands above the kidneys. Spruce’s tildacerfont, a non-steroidal option, is in a Phase IIb trial in adults with classic CAH and poor disease control. The company expects a topline readout here in the next 12 to 15 months. The small molecule is also in a Phase IIb study in adults with classic CAH and good disease control. Spruce expects topline data here in the first half of 2022.
The company says IPO money will help fund operations for at “least the next 12 months.” And they plan further R&D work to potentially treat children with classic CAH and other rare endocrine disorders.
Spruce raked in an $88 million Series B round in February, led by Omega Funds and Abingworth. So far, the company has blown through $42.9 million, according to its S-1 filing. Other indications could also be in tildacerfont’s future. “In addition to addressing these unmet needs in CAH, tildacerfont’s mechanism of action could also be relevant in patients suffering other abnormalities of the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis, including non-classic CAH, Cushing’s Disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome,” Wiebke Arlt, director of the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research at the University of Birmingham, said in February.
Next up we have Shattuck and Kronos, who both filed for $100 million IPOs to focus on cancer treatments.
Austin, TX-based Shattuck says it’s developing a new class of agonist redirected checkpoints, or ARCs. Its lead candidate, SL-172154, is designed to inhibit CD47 and stimulate CD40, and is currently in a Phase I trial for ovarian cancer. Initial data are expected in the second half of next year.
The company also plans to begin a second Phase I trial in patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma or head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, from which dose-escalation data would be available in the second half of 2022. Their Takeda-partnered candidate, SL-279252, is in a Phase I trial for advanced solid tumors and lymphoma. Dose-escalation data is coming in the second half of next year, Shattuck announced.
Back in June, Shattuck reeled in a $118 million Series B from Redmile Group and over 10 other investors. It intends to use the IPO funds to push SL-172154 from Phase I to Phase II, and develop additional candidates. So far, the company has burned through $48.3 million.
“Longer-term, we are pursuing additional disease areas, including autoimmune diseases, where our dual-sided fusion protein platforms may provide advantages over current treatment modalities,” the biotech said in its S-1.
Then there’s Norbert Bischofberger’s Kronos. The 30-year Gilead vet joined Kronos in 2018, pitching in to an $18 million seed round to launch the biotech. After announcing $155 million in private financing in August, Kronos hit the $278 million mark.
In July, Kronos picked up entospletinib — a drug that was shelved when Bischofberger was head of R&D at Gilead. Kronos forked over a “few million” in cash and a slice of equity to get it and another SYK inhibitor, lanraplenib, the CEO told Endpoints News following the deal. And now, the biotech plans on using IPO proceeds to fund a registrational Phase II/III study of entospletinib in combination with induction chemotherapy (IC) in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients with NPM1 mutations. That would include a $29 million milestone payment to Gilead.
The company is also looking to conduct a Phase I/II trial of its candidate KB-0742 for the treatment of advanced solid tumors, and to further develop its SYK and CDK9 programs. Its accumulated deficit is $39 million.
“Subject to clearance of an Investigational New Drug application (IND) for KB-0742, which we plan to submit in the fourth quarter of 2020, we plan to initiate a Phase I/II clinical trial in patients with advanced solid tumors in 2021,” the S-1 states.