Newly-Launched Centessa Pharmaceuticals Already Planning $100 Million IPO


Two months after Centessa Pharmaceuticals launched following the merger of 10 private biotech companies, the company is already eyeing a $100 million splash on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Founded by Medicxi, Centessa burst onto the scene in February with a $250 million Series A. The company hit the ground running following the merger of 10 private companies that will continue to operate under the Centessa umbrella as “asset-focused” companies.

When Centessa launched in February, it said each subsidiary team is focused on a single program or biological pathway, which will enable Centessa to develop multiple impactful medicines for patients.

“The vision of Centessa is to build a pharmaceutical company with a unique operational framework that aims to reduce some of the key R&D efficiencies that classical pharmaceutical companies face because of structural constraints,” Francesco De Rubertis, co-founder and partner at Medicxi and chairman of the board of Centessa said at the time of the company’s launch.

Centessa is comprised of ApcinteX, Capella BioScience, Janpix, LockBody, Morphogen-IX, Orexia Therapeutics, Palladio Biosciences, PearlRiver Bio, Pega-One and Z Factor. The Centessa portfolio consists of four clinical stage programs, including two in late-stage clinical development, and more than ten additional programs that span diseases with high unmet need across oncology, hematology, immunology, inflammation, neuroscience, and rare diseases. Each of the companies is primarily based in the United Kingdom and is between two and five years old. 

Centessa’s most advanced candidate is lixivaptan, which has been under development from Palladio Biosciences. Lixivaptan is an oral non-peptide, a new chemical agent that works by selectively suppressing the activity of the hormone vasopressin at the V2 receptor being developed for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.

The company has two Phase II candidates in its pipeline. ApcinteX is developing SerpinPC for hemophilia A and B. SerpinPC is a specific inhibitor of the anticoagulant protease-activated protein C (APC). PegaOne is developing imgatuzumab, a humanized, non-fucosylated, anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody to treat cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma other solid tumor indications.

Another Centessa subsidiary, Orexia Therapeutics, is developing oral and intranasal orexin receptor agonists to treat narcolepsy type 1. The agonists have the potential to directly address the underlying pathology of orexin neuron loss, as well as other neurological disorders characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness.

When Centessa burst onto the scene, it did so with former GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines and Operation Warp Speed head Moncef Slaoui in chief scientific officer and company advisor. 

However, after allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct that occurred during his tenure at GSK surfaced, Slaoui stepped down from his role at Centessa. Slaoui was also forced to leave his role as chairman of Galvani Bioelectronics, a position he held since the company's formation. 

Centessa filed to sell American Deposit Shares on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “CNTA.” In its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company did not disclose the share price range for its stocks. While the company is seeking to raise $100 million in the IPO, that number is likely just a placeholder. Given the fact that its Series A was a quarter of a billion dollars, it is likely Centessa will garner a much higher raise in its IPO. 

Centessa joins numerous other companies in a rush to go public. Earlier this week, Talaris Therapeutics, Gyroscope Therapeutics and Sagimet Biosciences announced their intentions to trade on the Nasdaq. 

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