Josh Hoffman, Zymergen CEO (Zymergen)

Zymer­gen's bid to dis­rupt a $3T in­dus­tri­al man­u­fac­tur­ing mar­ket goes vi­ral, earn­ing a mas­sive $500M IPO

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It’s not a sto­ry you hear every day: A biotech com­pa­ny that doesn’t use its plat­form to de­vel­op ther­a­peu­tics? De­spite some raised eye­brows ear­ly on, Emeryville, CA-based Zymer­gen has con­vinced in­vestors that its plan to dis­rupt in­dus­tri­al man­u­fac­tur­ing is worth the bet and now it’s priced an eye-pop­ping IPO to take its mis­sion to the next lev­el.

Syn­thet­ic bi­ol­o­gy firm Zymer­gen late Wednes­day priced its 16.13 mil­lion shares at $31, good for a pub­lic of­fer­ing in the range of $500 mil­lion, which would put the com­pa­ny in rar­i­fied air along with Sana Biotech­nol­o­gy as biotech com­pa­nies with half-bil­lion-dol­lar or more IPOs this year, ac­cord­ing to End­points News’ IPO track­er.

The up­sized pric­ing — Zymer­gen ini­tial­ly pen­ciled in a $100 mil­lion cash raise in its S-1 fil­ing last month  — puts Zymer­gen on track to con­tin­ue de­vel­op­ing its de­sign­er mol­e­cules it plans to use to dis­rupt a $3 tril­lion in­dus­tri­al man­u­fac­tur­ing mar­ket with ap­pli­ca­tions as far and wide as con­sumer care, agri­cul­ture and elec­tron­ics.

The com­pa­ny plans to get there by us­ing a process it calls “bio­fac­tur­ing,” us­ing ge­net­i­cal­ly en­gi­neered mol­e­cules to pro­duce in­dus­tri­al-grade prod­ucts with­out the need for tox­ic chem­i­cals of­ten used in the process or ex­pen­sive in­fra­struc­ture. All told, the com­pa­ny thinks it can cut costs by about 90% across the in­dus­try and pro­duce the same ma­te­ri­als in half the time.

It’s a fo­cus that has of­ten not been re­ward­ed among biotech in­vestors look­ing for a clear path to ther­a­pies, but Zymer­gen be­lieves it’s found its own huge un­met need — and the case keeps on flow­ing in. The $500 mil­lion cash raise comes on the heels of a $400 mil­lion Se­ries C back in 2018 and a $300 mil­lion raise in Sep­tem­ber.

All told, the com­pa­ny has raised some­where in the ball­park of $1.375 bil­lion since its ini­tial seed round way back in 2014.

While the com­pa­ny has broad am­bi­tions for its pipeline, it has just one prod­uct on the mar­ket: Hya­line, a high-qual­i­ty op­ti­cal film used in elec­tron­ics. Mean­while, the biotech is pur­su­ing can­di­dates across a trio of elec­tron­ics, agri­cul­ture and con­sumer care. Those ar­eas alone, it be­lieves, of­fer a mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ty of about $1.2 tril­lion.

Zymer­gen plans a slate of roll­outs in those mar­kets in 2022 and 2023 and will use Hya­line as its ca­nary in the coal mine in terms of con­sumer in­ter­est. If all goes to plan, Zymer­gen thinks its bio­fac­tur­ing mod­el could prove dis­rup­tive across a range of in­dus­tries, po­ten­tial­ly crack­ing open its lofty $3 tril­lion mar­ket goals.

“Our pipeline of prod­ucts has been de­signed with rapid mar­ket adop­tion in mind,” the com­pa­ny said in its prospec­tus. “In ad­di­tion, these prod­ucts demon­strate our bio­fac­tur­ing plat­form’s abil­i­ty to de­vel­op com­mer­cial­ly rel­e­vant prod­ucts across mul­ti­ple ma­jor dis­tinct chem­i­cal class­es.”

How Pa­tients with Epilep­sy Ben­e­fit from Re­al-World Da­ta

Amanda Shields, Principal Data Scientist, Scientific Data Steward

Keith Wenzel, Senior Business Operations Director

Andy Wilson, Scientific Lead

Real-world data (RWD) has the potential to transform the drug development industry’s efforts to predict and treat seizures for patients with epilepsy. Anticipating or controlling an impending seizure can significantly increase quality of life for patients with epilepsy. However, because RWD is secondary data originally collected for other purposes, the challenge is selecting, harmonizing, and analyzing the data from multiple sources in a way that helps support patients.

$DNA is once again on NYSE; FDA clears Soliris chal­lenger for the mar­ket; Flag­ship’s think­ing big again with eR­NA; 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.

I still remember the uncertainty in the air last year when nobody was sure whether ASCO would cancel their in-person meeting. But it’s now back again for the second virtual conference, and Endpoints News is here for it. Check out our 2-day event reviewing the landscape of cancer R&D and send news our way.

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Michael Dell (Richard Drew, AP Images)

'Dude, you're get­ting a Del­l' — as a new deep-pock­et biotech in­vestor

What happens when you marry longtime insiders in the global biotech VC game with the family fund of tech billionaire Michael Dell, a synthetic biology legend out of MIT and Harvard and the former director of the NCI?

Today, the answer is a newly financed, $200 million biotech SPAC now cruising the industry for a top player interested in finding a short cut to Nasdaq.

Orion Biotech Opportunities priced their blank check company today, raising $200 million with Dell’s multibillion-dollar MSD group’s commitment on investing another $20 million in a forward-purchase agreement.

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Gene ther­a­py from Bio­gen's $800M buy­out flops in mid-stage study, deal­ing blow to new am­bi­tions

The #2 candidate from Biogen’s $800 million ocular gene therapy buyout has failed in a mid-stage trial, dealing an early blow to the big biotech’s plans to revitalize its pipeline with new technologies.

Biogen announced that the candidate, an experimental treatment for a rare and progressive form of blindness called X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP), failed to sufficiently improve vision in patients’ treated eye — patients only received an injection in one eye — after a year, on a standard scale, compared to their untreated eye. The company said they saw “positive trends” on several secondary endpoints, including visual acuity, but declined to say whether the trial actually hit any of those endpoints.

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Vas Narasimhan (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

No­var­tis whiffs on En­tresto study af­ter heart at­tacks — but that does­n't mean it's go­ing down qui­et­ly

If Novartis learned one thing from its interaction with the FDA over its latest heart failure approval for Entresto, it was that missing a primary endpoint may not be the nail in the coffin. Now, Entresto has missed again on a late-stage study in high-risk heart patients, and it’s already sowing the seeds for a path forward regardless.

Novartis’ Entresto couldn’t best standard-of-care ramipril in staving off a composite of deaths and heart failure events in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction and/or pulmonary congestion who have had a prior heart attack, according to topline data from the Phase III PARADISE-MI study revealed Saturday at the virtual American College of Cardiology meeting.

Jason Kelly (Photographer: Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Gink­go nabs $DNA, biotech's most sought af­ter tick­er, for free in sweet­en­er from NYSE

When Ginkgo went comparison shopping for a financial market to list their now $15 billion company, the New York Stock Exchange had a back-pocket sweetener the Nasdaq couldn’t offer: The most sought-after ticker in biotech, $DNA.

DNA — the most famous three letters in biology and the ticker for the world’s first biotech, Genentech, from 1999 until it was bought out by Roche for $48 billion in 2009 — will now be the ticker for Ginkgo, a 12-year-old synthetic biology startup with grand ambitions to change not only how drugs, but also everyday products like meat and perfumes, are made.

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Lark­spur Health Ac­qui­si­tion files to go pub­lic as this year's SPAC flood surges over $14B

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Another day, another SPAC vying for a spot on Nasdaq.

On Wednesday, OncoSec Medical CEO Daniel O’Connor filed the S-1 paperwork for a new blank-check company he’s leading called Larkspur Health Acquisition. The former Advaxis chief penciled in a $75 million raise, with plans to offer 7.5 million shares at $10 apiece.

BAR­DA slows its $9B en­gine for new Covid-19 ther­a­peu­tics

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is cooling its jets in looking for new, potential Covid-19 treatments, at least in the near term.

An HHS spokesperson told Endpoints News via email, “to date, BARDA has obligated more than $9 billion for the development and/or purchase of 13 therapeutics, beginning in February 2020 with support to develop Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody therapeutic. Therapeutics are an important element of the COVID-19 response, and we are focused on the programs currently underway and/or in negotiation using the funds available to us.”

Bris­tol My­ers backs up its case for heart drug mava­camten as FDA weighs app in car­diomy­opa­thy

When Bristol Myers Squibb signed off on its $13 billion acquisition of MyoKardia back in October, it was making a big bet that lead drug mavacamten could prove a game changer in cardiac myopathy. Now, with the drug up for FDA review, Bristol Myers is backing up its case with new quality of life data.

Patients dosed with myosin inhibitor mavacamten posted a clinically significant increase in scores on the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire, a catch-all summary of symptoms and quality of life markers, over placebo at 30 weeks, according to data from the Phase III EXPLORER-HCM study presented Saturday at the virtual American College of Cardiology meeting.