Wak­sal's gene ther­a­py spin­off MeiraGTx says it’s time to fly with an $86M IPO

Alexan­dria “Zandy” Forbes

Three years af­ter Sam Wak­sal’s Kad­mon spun out its gene ther­a­py tech in­to a start­up called MeiraGTx, the New York-based biotech says it’s ready to come out to play on Nas­daq.

Wak­sal, an ex-con once sen­tenced to prison for his in­sid­er trad­ing con­vic­tion in­volv­ing Martha Stew­art, had to leave Kad­mon be­fore the com­pa­ny was able to com­plete its own IPO. And now his brain­child — un­der the di­rec­tion of for­mer Kad­mon com­mer­cial chief Alexan­dria Forbes — has pen­ciled in an $86 mil­lion raise in its own S-1.

MeiraGTx has been large­ly fly­ing un­der the radar in the gene ther­a­py field, but Wak­sal of­fered his trade­mark brand of hype in pump­ing the tech. The S-1 is stick­ing clos­er to out­lin­ing where the biotech’s ear­ly-stage work is fo­cused, and where it hopes to ex­pand its pipeline work.

The com­pa­ny has been build­ing out gene ther­a­py man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions to sup­port its work, which is ini­tial­ly fo­cused on oph­thal­mol­o­gy, or eye dis­eases, where the first gen­er­a­tion of de­vel­op­ers found some ear­ly suc­cess­es in the field. Like Spark’s pi­o­neer­ing RPE65 ther­a­py Lux­tur­na, MeiraGTx — which has burned through $81 mil­lion to get to this point — has the same ba­sic tar­get in mind. 

Its three on­go­ing Phase I/II stud­ies al­so in­clude a tri­al in­volv­ing achro­matop­sia re­lat­ed to mu­ta­tions in CNGB3 and X-linked re­tini­tis pig­men­tosa re­lat­ed to mu­ta­tions in RP­GR.

The com­pa­ny’s S-1 al­so in­cludes an out­line of its plans to use its vi­ral vec­tors to de­liv­er small mol­e­cules. And there’s an ac­tive neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion seg­ment fo­cused on ALZ and Alzheimer’s, specif­i­cal­ly re­gard­ing “restor­ing nor­mal en­do­so­mal func­tion to the neu­rons that are the first to be af­fect­ed in Alzheimer’s dis­ease…”

Kad­mon — whose shares have been bump­ing along at a frac­tion of their peak — still owns 17% of the com­pa­ny, the biggest mi­nor­i­ty share­hold­er. Alexan­dria Forbes, who was a se­ri­ous sci­en­tist be­fore she dove in­to hedge fund work, has kept a 4.5% stake in the biotech.

Bo­fA Mer­rill Lynch, Bar­clays and Ever­core ISI are the joint bookrun­ners on the deal.

The Big Phar­ma dis­card pile; Lay­offs all around while some biotechs bid farewell; New Roche CEO as­sem­bles top team; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

With earnings seasons in full swing, we’ve listened in on all the calls so you don’t have to. But news is popping up from all corners, so make sure you check out our other updates, too.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Trodelvy notch­es a win in most com­mon form of breast can­cer

Following a promise last year to go “big and fast in breast cancer,” Gilead has secured a win for Trodelvy in the most common form.

The drug was approved to treat HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer patients who’ve already received endocrine-based therapy and at least two other systemic therapies for metastatic cancer, Gilead announced on Friday.

Trodelvy won its first indication in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer back in 2020, and has since added urothelial cancer to the list. HR-positive HER2-negative breast cancer accounts for roughly 70% of new breast cancer cases worldwide per year, according to senior VP of oncology clinical development Bill Grossman, and many patients develop resistance to endocrine-based therapies or worsen on chemotherapy.

Raymond Stevens, Structure Therapeutics CEO

Be­hind Fri­day's $161M IPO: A star sci­en­tist, GPCR drug dis­cov­ery and a plan to chal­lenge phar­ma in di­a­betes

What does it take to pull off a $161 million biotech IPO these days?

In Structure Therapeutics’ case, it means having a star scientist co-founder paired with the computational drug discovery company Schrödinger, $198 million in private funding from blue-chip investors, almost six years of research work on G protein-coupled receptors and a slate of oral, small-molecule drugs, with an eye on the huge and growing diabetes and weight-loss market.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) (Francis Chung/E&E News/Politico via AP Images)

In­fla­tion re­bates in­com­ing: Wyden calls on CMS to move quick­ly as No­var­tis CEO pledges re­ver­sal

Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) this week sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeking an update on how and when new inflation-linked rebates will take effect for drugs that see major price spikes.

The newly signed Inflation Reduction Act requires manufacturers to pay a rebate to Medicare when they increase drug prices faster than the rate of inflation.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Af­ter 13 years, Ramy Mah­moud steps in­to CEO seat at Opti­nose; Ru­pert Vessey set to ex­it Bris­tol My­ers in Ju­ly

After 13 years as president and COO at Optinose, Ramy Mahmoud has stepped into a new role as its CEO. He is taking the place of Peter Miller, who stepped down earlier this week, though Miller is still staying with the company as a consultant.

In 2010, the two business partners joined Optinose to take it in a new direction, transforming it from a delivery platform to product company. They previously worked together at Johnson & Johnson, when Miller was president at Janssen and Mahmoud headed medical affairs. Miller said after he learned about Optinose, “I did what I always do, which is find people smarter than me to talk with about the idea. And the first person I called was Ramy … and I said, ‘Hey, Ramy, what do you think of this technology?’”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Ma­gen­ta halts stem cell work and may sell it­self fol­low­ing pa­tient death, clin­i­cal hold

Magenta Therapeutics said it is halting work on its stem cell transplant drug pipeline and may sell itself, a week after the company reported the death of a patient in an early stage trial of its antibody-drug conjugate.

The Cambridge, MA-based company said it will conduct a “review of strategic alternatives,” and that could include an “acquisition, merger, business combination, or other transaction.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Te­va drops out of in­dus­try trade group PhRMA

Following in AbbVie’s footsteps, Teva confirmed on Friday that it’s dropping out of the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Teva didn’t give a reason for its decision to leave, saying only in a statement to Endpoints News that it annually reviews “effectiveness and value of engagements, consultants and memberships to ensure our investments are properly seated.”

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 158,500+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Sanofi CFO Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon (L) and CEO Paul Hudson (Romuald Meigneux/Sipa via AP Images)

Sanofi sees downtick in flu sales as it preps for launch of RSV an­ti­body

Sanofi expects its RSV antibody jointly developed with AstraZeneca will be available next season, executive VP of vaccines Thomas Triomphe announced on the company’s quarterly call.

Beyfortus, also known as nirsevimab, was approved in the EU back in November and is currently under FDA review with an expected decision coming in the third quarter of this year. The news comes as the FDA plans to hold advisory committee meetings over the next couple months to review RSV vaccines from Pfizer and GSK.

Christophe Weber, Takeda CEO (Photographer: Shoko Takayasu/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Take­da fo­cus­es on ‘di­verse’ pipeline prospects on heels of two ac­qui­si­tions

After a whopping $4 billion asset buy from Nimbus Therapeutics, along with a $400 million deal with Hutchmed for a colorectal cancer drug, Takeda executives touted pipeline optimism on its latest earnings call this week.

That’s because the TYK2 inhibitor for psoriasis Takeda is getting from Nimbus, along with the Hutchmed fruquintinib commercialization outside of China, are just two of what it reports are 10 late-stage development programs of promising candidates.