Life Sciences Companies Ringing the Nasdaq Bell this Week
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Sana Biotechnology led the way with a very large initial public offering (IPO) that could bring the company’s market value to $4.6 billion or more. But it’s not the only IPO this week. Here’s a look.
Sana Biotechnology – Sana announced plans to raise $517 million with 22 million shares at a price range of $23 to $24 per share. The company previously filed to offer 15 million shares at a range of $20 to $23. At the midpoint of the revised range, the company plans to raise 60% more in proceeds than they had previously expected.
The company is working to develop in vivo and ex vivo cell engineering platforms for oncology, diabetes, central nervous system disorders, cardiovascular diseases and genetic disorders.
On October 30, 2020, Sana acquired Oscine Corp., which focuses on developing cell therapies for brain and CNS disorders. Oscine offers up a glial progenitor cell program and various underlying technologies. Glial progenitor cells play a role in supporting the brain.
Sana has a broad preclinical pipeline with 11 programs ranging from non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and multiple myeloma to sickle cell disease, beta-thalassemia, type 1 diabetes and others. The company raised more than $700 million in private funding and will have a market value of about $4.6 billion. They’re also offering an additional 30-day option for another 3.525 million shares to underwriters, which if they are fully exercised, could bring the IPO raised to $675.6 million.
Sensei Biotherapeutics – Sensei announced the pricing of its upsized IPO of 7,000,052 shares of common stock at $19 per share. The company hopes to raise $133 million. On January 11, 2021, Sensei announced the closing of a $30 million Series B financing, co-led by Apeiron Investment Group and Catalio Capital Management. Additional investors included Pura Vida, several international family offices, and Cambrina Biopharma, Moore Strategic Ventures, Steve Jurvetson’s Future Ventures, and Presight Capital.
Sensei focuses on immunotherapies for cancer and infectious diseases. It has developed a phage-based platform, ImmunoPhage. A phage is a virus that infects bacteria. This platform allows for the rapid creation of immune activating agents that fully engage the immune system. It has used it to develop a library of ImmunoPhage called Phortress targeting multiple tumor associated antigens. Its most advanced program is SNS-301, a first-in-class ImmunoPhage targeting Aspartyl beta Hydroxylase (ASPH) in advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN).
Landos Biopharma – Landos announced plans to raise $100 million for its IPO of 6,250,000 shares of common stock at $16 per share. Landos is working to develop novel oral therapeutics for autoimmune diseases. On January 4, 2021, the company announced positive results from a first-in-patients 12-week Phase II proof-of-concept trial of BT-11, an oral gut-restricted LANCL2 modulator in mild to moderate ulcerative colitis (UC).
“We are excited by the very promising Phase II trial results evaluating BT-11, as it marks the first potential therapeutic to engage the novel target LANCL2,” said Josep Bassaganya-Riera, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Landos. “We believe this novel mechanism of action is responsible for modulating key immunological mechanisms associated with various autoimmune diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.”
Aspira Women’s Health – Aspira announced plans to raise $45 million with its IPO of 6 million shares at a price of $7.50 per share. It plans to use the proceeds for sales and marketing, working capital and other general corporate purposes. The company, formerly known as Vermillion, is developing and commercializing innovative testing options and bio-analytical solutions to help doctors evaluate risk, optimize patient management and improve gynecologic health. OV1 plus combines its OVA1 and OVERA to detect risk of ovarian malignancy in women with adnexal masses. Aspira GenetiX offers targeted and comprehensive genetic testing options with a gynecologic focus.
On November 19, 2020, the company inked a collaborative research deal with Baylor Genetics in Houston to co-develop a novel Ovarian Cancer early-detection test.
“We look forward to combining the strengths from each respective research team, and working together on our OVA360 clinical study, specifically in our mutual goal of characterizing an Ovarian Cancer molecular profile,” said Lesley Northrop, chief scientific officer at Aspira, in a November statement.
Equillium – Equillium entered into a securities purchase agreement with life science institutional investment funds managed by Decheng Capital, to acquire 4,285,710 units from Equilliuim. Each unit consists of one share of common stock and a warrant to purchase 0.3 of a share of common stock. The purchase price per unit is $7, priced above the market under Nasdaq rules. The warrants will have an exercise price of $14 per share, will be immediately exercisable, and will expire on the earlier of the fifth anniversary of issuance or the 15th calendar date after the data on which Equillium closes a financing raising a minimum of $25 million at a price per share of no less than $25.
Equillium is focused on immunology and developing new products for severe autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. On December 7, 2020, the company presented data at the 2020 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition on the impact of itolizumab on effector T cell function in graft-versus-host autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. The findings demonstrated that the CD6-ALCAM pathway is crucial in modulating effector T cell function, and that inhibition of CD6 signaling with itolizumab can modulate multiple effector T cell subsets.