Biotech Financing, IPO Tide May Be Turning – Signs of a Potential Recovery?
Pictured: Series of outcroppings with steep cliffs down to the ocean/iStock, honster
The tide may be turning when it comes to financing activity in the biotech sector. This week, we saw encouraging signs that investors have an appetite for investment following an industrywide recalibration. In the largest biotech Series C financing so far this year, Generate:Biomedicines raised $273 million and picked up new investors, including Amgen and NVIDIA’s venture capital arm.
In other financing news this week, Rome Therapeutics brought big name pharma companies onto its investor roster in an announced Series B extension Tuesday, adding $72 million in financing backed by Johnson & Johnson and Bristol Myers Squibb—bringing the total raise to $149 million.
The week ended with Neumora Therapeutics and RayzeBio announcing initial public offering pricing late Thursday, respectively, with shares beginning trading Friday and valued at more than $560 million combined. RayzeBio secured $311 million and Neumora netted $250 million in two of biotech’s largest IPOs so far this year. Could the IPO market be strengthening? We are certainly seeing positive signals for a potential recovery in the second half of 2023.
At the same time, companies are continuing to slash programs to lighten their load. Bristol Myers Squibb and Moderna announced this week that they are cutting their pipelines. BMS’ cuts, announced during its R&D Day, include a mid-stage drug candidate for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and an anti-TIGIT solid tumor program. During its R&D Day, Moderna said it is culling four programs from its pipeline, including two molecules that were discontinued last year by AstraZeneca. At the same time, Moderna said it plans to launch up to 15 new products and bring up to 50 new candidates to the clinic over the next five years as part of its growth plan.
On the regulatory front this week, the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee voted 9-3 in favor of Alnylam’s patisiran on whether its benefits outweigh its risks for patients with cardiomyopathy induced by transthyretin amyloidosis. However, the regulator in briefing documents released ahead of the adcomm meeting stated that “the effects of patisiran compared to placebo on both endpoints were small, of questionable clinical meaningfulness, and may not be detectable by patients.” The FDA is set to decide on approval by Oct. 8.
It was also a big week for Sandoz. Novartis shareholders approved spinning off the subsidiary, with Sandoz CEO Richard Saynor telling Reuters that he plans to launch at least five additional biologic drugs and intends to take the top spot from Pfizer as the world’s largest producer of biosimilars. Sandoz, Novartis’ soon-to-be spun off generics and biosimilars division, also this week announced a commercialization agreement with Samsung Bioepis, gaining rights to the latter’s Stelara biosimilar.
In related news, AbbVie’s Skyrizi dealt a blow to J&J’s Stelara in a head-to-head Phase III Crohn’s disease study. Continuing its clinical winning streak, Skyrizi matched and even showed signs of superiority against Stelara in terms of inducing clinical remission in patients with active, moderate to severe Crohn’s disease who have failed on traditional anti-TNF agents.