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.”

2023 Spot­light on the Fu­ture of Drug De­vel­op­ment for Small and Mid-Sized Biotechs

In the context of today’s global economic environment, there is an increasing need to work smarter, faster and leaner across all facets of the life sciences industry.  This is particularly true for small and mid-sized biotech companies, many of which are facing declining valuations and competing for increasingly limited funding to propel their science forward.  It is important to recognize that within this framework, many of these smaller companies already find themselves resource-challenged to design and manage clinical studies themselves because they don’t have large teams or in-house experts in navigating the various aspects of the drug development journey. This can be particularly challenging for the most complex and difficult to treat diseases where no previous pathway exists and patients are urgently awaiting breakthroughs.

Spe­cial re­port 2022: Meet 20 women blaz­ing trails in bio­phar­ma R&D

When you run a special report for a fourth year, it can start feeling a little bit like a ritual. You go through the motions — in our case opening up nominations for top women in biopharma R&D and reviewing more than 500 entries — you make your choices of inclusion and exclusion. You host a ceremony.

But then things happen that remind you why you do it in the first place. Perhaps a Supreme Court rules to overturn the constitutional right to abortion and a group of women biotech leaders makes it clear they strongly dissent; perhaps new data on gender diversity in the industry come out that look all too similar to the old ones, suggesting women are still dramatically underrepresented at the top; perhaps protests and conflicts around the world put in stark terms the struggles that many women still face in earning the most basic recognition.

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Graphic: Shutterstock

Prometheus moves to raise cash hours af­ter PhII da­ta leads to stock surge

After releasing better-than-anticipated data on two mid-stage studies Wednesday morning, Prometheus Biosciences’ CEO said the company would “take some time to assess” its next financing options.

It only needed about seven hours. Wednesday afternoon after the market closed, the biotech announced it would seek $250 million through an equity offering as the company looks to edge out anti-TL1A competitor Pfizer and its new partner Roivant.

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Piper Trelstad, head of CMC, Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute

Q&A with Gates leader: Women tak­ing on more roles in phar­ma man­u­fac­tur­ing, but still work to do

More and more women are driving innovation and taking leadership roles in biotech – as evidenced today in the release of Endpoints News’ list of the top 20 women in the R&D world – but those gains are beginning to extend across pharma sectors.

In pharma manufacturing in the US today, around 46% of all roles are occupied by women, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2021. And according to a Bloomberg report, women’s roles across manufacturing roles had a massive boost after the start of the pandemic.

Kristen Hege, Bristol Myers Squibb SVP, early clinical development, oncology/hematology and cell therapy (Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News)

Q&A: Bris­tol My­er­s' Kris­ten Hege on cell ther­a­py, can­cer pa­tients and men­tor­ing the next gen­er­a­tion

Kristen Hege leads Bristol Myers Squibb’s early oncology discovery program carrying on from the same work at Celgene, which was acquired by BMS in 2019. She’s known for her early work in CAR-T, having pioneered the first CAR-T cell trial for solid tumors more than 25 years ago.

However, the eminent physician-scientist is more than just a drug developer mastermind. She’s also a practicing physician, mother to two young women, an avid backpacker and intersecting all those interests — a champion of young women and people of color in STEM and life sciences.

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Gossamer Bio CEO Faheem Hasnain at Endpoints' #BIO22 panel (J.T. MacMillan Photography for Endpoints News)

Gos­samer’s Fa­heem Has­nain de­fends a round of pos­i­tive PAH da­ta as a clear win. But can these PhII re­sults stand up to scruti­ny?

Gossamer Bio $GOSS posted a statistically significant improvement for its primary endpoint in the key Phase II TORREY trial for lead drug seralutinib on Tuesday morning. But CEO Faheem Hasnain has some explaining to do on the important secondary of the crucial six-minute walk distance test — which will be the primary endpoint in Phase III — as the data on both endpoints fell short of expectations, missing one analyst’s bar on even modest success.

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Alex Martinez, Intrinsic Medicine CEO

They with­drew their IPO. Then, they broke off their SPAC merg­er. Now what?

If at first an IPO doesn’t succeed, try, try a SPAC. But what happens when that fails too?

Intrinsic Medicine and its blank-check partner Phoenix Biotech Acquisition Corp. called off their reverse merger Tuesday night, citing “current market conditions” as the reason it went kaput. The pair decoupled just weeks after agreeing to combine in late October as investors’ appetite for new IPOs and SPACs has been limited, at best.

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Big Phar­mas team up with lo­cal Sin­ga­pore or­ga­ni­za­tions to boost man­u­fac­tur­ing

Singapore has long established itself as a major hub for pharma manufacturing, and now several big players are looking to further cement their presence in the Lion City.

Takeda, Sanofi and GSK are forming a partnership with the Singapore-based Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and several local academic institutions, including the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, its enterprise company called NTUitive and Singapore Institute of Technology to provide a greater boost to the manufacturing of biologics.

Phar­ma rep­u­ta­tion re­tains 'halo' even as pan­dem­ic me­dia cov­er­age re­cedes — sur­vey

The Covid-19 halo effect on the pharma industry is continuing, according to a new global study from Ipsos. The annual survey for the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) finds considerable goodwill from consumers across measures of trust, cooperation with governments, and advancing research and drug development.

“Despite the pandemic in many countries no longer being the top of mind concern generally – although it does remain the top concern as a health issue – the industry’s reputation has remained positive,” said Ipsos research director Thomas Fife-Schaw.

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