2021 Biotech IPOs Get Off to a Roaring Start


The year is starting off with a number of biopharma and life sciences initial public offerings (IPOs). Last year was a record number of IPOs in the biotech industry, with 81 raising $13.5 billion. With this kind of a start, 2021 may be scorching.

TCR2 Therapeutics The Cambridge, Mass. company announced pricing for its underwritten offering of 4,590,164 shares on January 20 of $30.50 per share. The company hopes to raise $140 million of common stock, which will be used to advance its clinical and earlier stage programs and for R&D, working capital and general corporate purposes. TCR2 is developing novel T-cell therapies for solid tumors and hematological cancers. Its T-cell receptor (TCR) Fusion Construct T cells (TRuC-T cells) recognize and kill cancer cells by leveraging signaling from the entire TCR. TC-210 is currently in a Phase I/II trial for mesothelin-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ovarian cancer, malignant pleural/peritoneal mesothelioma, and cholangiocarcinoma. TC-110 is in a Phase I/II trial for CD19-positive adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia (aALL) and with aggressive or indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Syros PharmaceuticalsSyros announced a follow-on public offering on January 20, offering 5.4 million shares of common stock at $14 per share, to raise $75.6 million. Their original IPO was in July 2016. The proceeds of the follow-on will be used to fund its ongoing clinical and preclinical programs. Its lead compound is SY-1425, a first-in-class oral selective RARalpha agonist in RARA-positive patients with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia. Other products include SY-2101, a novel oral form of arsenic trioxide for acute promyelocytic leukemia, and SY-5609, a highly selective and potent oral CDK7 inhibitor for solid tumors.

Gracell Biotechnologies – On January 19, Gracell completed its $209 million IPO of 11 million American depositary shares, each representing five ordinary shares. The company is using its pioneering FasTCAR and TruUCAR technology platforms to discover and develop breakthrough cell therapies. The company is based in Suzhou and Shanghai, China. On January 19, its investigational new drug (IND) for GC019F, a FasTCAR-enabled CAR-T therapy in relapsed or refractory adult B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) was approved by China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA).

Ortho Clinical Diagnostics Holdings – Ortho launched its IPO of ordinary shares on January 19. It is offering 70 million ordinary shares with a price between $20 and $23 per share. It hopes to raise about $160 million in aggregate principal amount of 7.375% senior notes due 2025 and $270 million in aggregate principal amount of 7.250% senior notes due 2028. Ortho Clinical Diagnostics is a leader in in vitro diagnostics. On January 12, its VITROS SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test for mass-scale COVID-19 testing received FDA Emergency Use Authorization.

Cullinan Management – On January 4, Cullinan Management announced its IPO to raise $150 million by offering 8.3 million at $17 to $19 per share. The company, previously named Cullinan Oncology, is listed on the Nasdaq under the CGEM ticker symbol. It has a diversified pipeline of targeted oncology and immuno-oncology therapeutics. Its lead candidate is CLN-081, an oral small molecule designed to be a next-generation, irreversible EGFR inhibitor. It is now in a Phase I/IIa trial for adult NSCLC with EGFRex20ins mutations. Other products include CLNB-049, a bispecific antibody against FLT3 and CD3 and CLN-619, a monoclonal antibody that simulates NK and T-cell responses.

Qilian International – Jiuquan, China-based Qilian International holding Group Limited, a pharmaceutical and chemical products manufacturer, announced its IPO of 5 million ordinary shares at $5 per share on January 14. This is planned to raise about $25 million. The company’s focus is on the development, manufacture, marketing and sale of licorice products, oxytetracycline products, traditional Chinese medicine derivatives, heparin, sausage casing, and fertilizers.

New filings include:

Adagene Only a week ago this China-based company announced it had discovered a new CAR-T candidate for renal cell carcinoma. It hopes to raise $125 million in the IPO. In January 2020, it raised $69 million in Series D, bringing the then-total up to $150 million. The compound was developed in the laboratory of Richard Childs, chief of the Laboratory of Transplantation Immunotherapy with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is planning on taking over manufacturing and clinical development.

Pharvaris – Based in The Netherlands, Pharvaris is planning a $100 million Nasdaq IPO to raise money for its therapy for hereditary angioedema (HAE). In November 2020, Pharvaris closed on an oversubscribed $80 million Series C round, bringing its total venture capital raised to more than $160 million. The company focuses on oral bradykinin-B2-receptor antagonists for HAE and other related indications. Its first drug is PHVS416 for HAE, with plans to initiate a Phase II trial this year.

NeximmuneThe company filed for an IPO to raise $86 million on January 19. The company is working on a new approach to immunotherapy that uses the body’s own T-cells to create specific, potent, and durable immune responses for cancer and other life-threatening immune-mediated disease. It has two drugs in Phase I/II trials: NEXI-001 for acute myeloid leukemia and NEXI-002 for multiple myeloma. It expects readouts by the end of this year. The company is based in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

BiophytisThis French company filed today for a Nasdaq IPO to raise about $15 million. It plans to use the proceeds to finalize Part 2 of its COVA trial of Sarconeos (BIO101) in respiratory failures associated with COVID-19; to finalize its Phase II trial of Sarconeos in sarcopenia; to launch development of Sarconeos in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) once it receives IND approval from the FDA and European Medicines Agency; and to continuing working on its preclinical R&D program on retinopathies.

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