Tiny IPO closes out Nasdaq's barren biotech year
Nasdaq added one more biotech to its 2022 roster in the final days of the year, closing out a quiet chapter in its history with a tiny IPO.
Coya Therapeutics raised $15.25 million by selling a mix of stock and warrants, with shares priced at $5 apiece and each warrant granting purchasers the right to buy Coya stock at $7.50 per share.
Based out of Houston, Coya specializes in leveraging regulatory T cells for neurodegenerative, autoimmune and metabolic diseases. At the time it filed its S-1 — in late November — the biotech comprised only six full-time employees.
Its one clinical candidate is an autologous Treg therapy for ALS. The therapy, dubbed COYA 101, is made out of a patient’s own T cells that are engineered to reduce neuroinflammation associated with ALS, aiming to slow the breakdown of motor neurons.
COYA 101 has been granted orphan drug designation by the FDA. While it’s been through Phase I and Phase IIa studies initiated by investigators, Coya said it’s looking to fund Phase IIb studies through non-dilutive government grants or a pharma partnership rather than internal investments.
The company planned to use IPO proceeds to advance its other, preclinical candidates, including biologics that modify Tregs and off-the-shelf Treg-derived exosomes.
As biotechs floundered on the public markets, many private startups were hesitant to make the leap to Wall Street, turning instead to familiar investors for new cash — or taking out the budget axe and reshuffling operations. Coya joins a small club led by Prime Medicine and Third Harmonic that is braving the headwinds as observers hope for a rebound in 2023.