4 Biotech Companies List on the Nasdaq Today
Four biotech companies began trading on the Nasdaq this morning. Compared to last year’s big-money initial public offerings, it’s been a relatively slow year to date. March, however, marked seven life science IPOs, including Precision BioSciences, GenFit, Hookipa, Turning Point Therapeutics, Shockwave Medical, Silk Road Medical and Precision BioSciences. In April, Codiak BioSciences, Peloton Therapeutics, Bicycle Therapeutics, IDEAYA Biosciences, Karuna Pharmaceuticals, Brainsway, Applied Therapeutics, Guardion Health Sciences and NGM Biopharmaceuticals went public. Prior to today’s announcements, Trevi Therapeutics and TransMedics launched IPOs this month.
Here's a look at today’s launches and one rumored IPO.
NextCure. Based in Beltsville, Md., NextCure priced its IPO of 5 million common shares at $15 per share. Shares began trading today under the ticker symbol “NXTC.” The company is focused on immunomedicines to treat cancer and other immune-related diseases. On November 18, 2018, the company completed a Series B financing worth $93 million led by Hillhouse Capital Management and Quan Capital, and included Bay City Capital, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Ping An Ventures, Taiho Ventures, ArrowMark Partners and NS Investment. All existing investors participated, including Canaan Partners, Lilly Asia Ventures, OrbiMed Advisors, Pfizer, Sofinnova Ventures and Alexandria Venture Investments. Eli Lilly and Company also invested $15 million in the financing in connection to an announced discovery and development deal announced November 5, 2018.
NextCure’s lead compound is NC318, a first-in-class therapeutic against a novel immunomodulatory target found on a restricted set of myeloid cells in the tumor microenvironment and on certain cancer types that includes lung, ovarian, and head and neck cancers.
Cortexyme. Headquartered in South San Francisco, Cortexyme announced on April 16 that it had launched the GAIN Trial, an international Phase II/III study of its COR388 in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s patients. The trial will determine if the drug can slow or stop Alzheimer’s progression by inactivating the toxic proteins, or gingipains, released by P. gingivalis, a bacterium most commonly linked to chronic periodontal disease, but which has been shown to infect the brain and cause Alzheimer’s.
The company announced its IPO on May 8, with a public price of $17 per share for 4,412,000 shares of common stock. They began trading today under the ticker symbol “CRTX.”
Milestone Pharmaceuticals. Located in Montreal and Charlotte, NC, Milestone Pharmaceuticals is focused on developing etripamil for cardiovascular indications. The company announced the pricing of its upsized IPO yesterday at a price of $15 per share. It is offering 5,500,000 common shares and expects to raise about $82.5 million. They began trading today under the ticker symbol “MIST.”
On October 25, 2018, the company completed an $80 million private financing. New investors RTW Investments led the round and was joined by Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners and Boxer Capital of Tavistock Group. Existing investors included Novo Holdings, Forbion, funds managed by Tekla Capital Management, Domain Associates, BDC Capital, Pappas Capital, GO Capital, and Fonds de solidarite FTQ. This round builds on a previous July 2017 Series C financing led by Novo Holdings. The proceeds were used to support the company’s Phase III trial of etripamil for paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) and to expand the company’s pipeline.
Axcella. Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., Axcella priced its IPO at $20 per share and is offering 3,571,428 shares of common stock. It began trading today under the ticker symbol “AXLA.” It plans to raise $71.4 million.
On April 11, Axcella presented new data at The International Liver Congress 2019 for its endogenous metabolic modulator (EMM) composition, AXA1665 in patients with mild and moderate hepatitis insufficiency or loss of liver function. The company’s lead candidate is designed to target several metabolic pathways that intersect key organ systems, including liver, muscle wasting, and gut health. The drug was well-tolerated and increased the basal (fasted) Fischer’s ratio by 40%, decreased plasma ammonia area, and showed a trend toward a leaner phenotype and muscle function.
BioNTech. Unlike the four previously described companies that all began trading on the Nasdaq today, BioNTech is maneuvering for a possible future IPO, according to reports. Based in Mainz, Germany, BioNTech announced the acquisition of antibody assets and infrastructure yesterday from San Diego-based MabVax Therapeutics Holding, an oncology company. Under the terms of the deal, BioNTech acquired MabVax’s lead candidate, MVT-5873, in addition to other preclinical antibody assets to expand its existing antibody portfolio and RiboMABS development capabilities. MVT-5873 is currently in Phase I development in pancreatic cancer and has been tested in 35 patients with initial positive interim data announced in February 2018. In addition to the assets, it acquired MabVax’s infrastructure and lab equipment with plans to establish a research facility in San Diego.
Bloomberg reported in February that BioNTech was considering a U.S. IPO, possibly as early as this year. In addition to acquiring the new assets, BioNTech has development partnerships with Pfizer and Sanofi. At this time, however, it appears to be a rumor.