2 Bay Area Biotechs Launch IPOs Worth a Combined $200 Million


It’s been a hot year for biotech initial public offerings (IPOs). Two recent announced offerings, Kodiak Science in Palo Alto and Guardant Health in Redwood City mark the fourteenth and fifteenth life sciences IPOs in the San Francisco Bay Area this year.

Kodiak Sciences has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise up to $100 million in its IPO. Founded in 2009, Kodiak plans to list on the Nasdaq under the KOD ticker symbol.

According to its filing, Kodiak has spent about $85.9 million so far, which is most of the $93 million it has raised since launch. The funds will be used to advance its lead drug, KSI-301, which has successfully completed a nine-patient Phase I dosing and safety trial. The company is planning two Phase II trials. The first is in a 400-patient trial comparing KSI-301 directly against Regenerons Eylea for wet age-related macular degeneration. A second Phase II trial will study the drug’s effectiveness in diabetic retinopathy.

KSI-301 faces some stiff competition with Eylea and other drugs, including Genentechs Lucentis and Avastin. However, Kodiak thinks it might be able to find some holes in these other drugs’ coverage. In the SEC filing, the company noted, “Lucentis was tested and failed to successfully extend the treatment interval to 12-week dosing, with patients going back to pre-treatment baseline or even losing vision at the end of the first year of treatment, on average.”

And in the case of Eylea, it stated, “Recently the FDA allowed an update to Eylea’s labeling to allow 12-week dosing, but only in the second year of treatment (after one full year of intensive treatment). The labeling refers to it as ‘not as effective as the recommended every eight-week dosing.’”

Guardant Health is also looking to raise $100 million in its IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol GH. In its filing, the company estimated the market opportunity for its current commercial and pipeline products exceeds $35 billion in the U.S., “comprising applications for both clinicians and biopharmaceutical customers, and addressing early- to late-stage disease.”

Guardant is focused on cancer testing, with a liquid biopsy test already on the market. Part of the $100 million raised would be to co-develop, buy or invest in companies that are complementary to its liquid biopsy tests. The San Francisco Business Times notes, “Liquid biopsies are one of the hottest and most competitive areas of biotech, attracting some $2 billion in big-name investor cash in the past couple of years alone. GRAIL, Inc., rumored to be lining up its own IPO in Hong Kong, has raised $1.6 billion from the likes of Japan’s SoftBank, Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Bezos Expeditions, ARCH Venture Partners, GV (the former Google Ventures), Sutter Hill Ventures and Illumina Inc., according to Crunchbase. Guardant, meanwhile, has raised $660 million since it was founded six years ago, according to Crunchbase, and had cash, equivalents and marketable securities as of June 30 of $301.2 million.”

In its IPO filing, Guardant founders Helmy Eltoukhy, AmirAli Talasaz and Michael Wiley stated, “Cancer never sleeps and our physicians and their patients desperately need every weapon they can use at their disposal in the battle against cancer. This thought drives us to work hard and show resilience in the face of adversity, because every minute we waste means falling behind cancer’s relentless march. After all, there are lives at stake.”

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