Protein Motion Company Relay Therapeutics Files for $200 Million IPO

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Relay Therapeutics, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, filed for an initial public offering (IPO). The company’s preliminary target is $200 million and plans to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker RLAY.

Relay Therapeutics was the No. 3 company in BioSpace’s NextGen Bio Class of 2018, Top 20 Life Science Startups to Watch in 2018. Relay was founded in February 2016, and focuses on developing therapeutics involving protein motion. For decades, the technology hasn’t been available or affordable to completely evaluate the movement of proteins, which in the body are in constant motion. Proteins move physiologically in the body. Visualizing the fourth dimension and motion can provide insight into how proteins are physiologically active in the body, which can be used to develop and design better drugs.

The company launched with a $57 million Series A financing led by Third Rock Ventures and joined by an affiliate of D.E. Shaw Research. On December 14, 2017, it closed on a Series B financing round worth $63 million. That round was led by BVF Partners, with new investors GV (formerly Google Ventures), Casdin Capital, EcoR1 Capital and Section 32. Third Rock and Alexandria Venture Investments participated.

To date, the company has raised $520 million in three rounds of private financing, with the Series C in December 2018 hitting a stunning $400 million.

The company’s first drug candidate, RLY-1971, is beginning a Phase I trial as an SHP2 protein inhibitor in solid tumors. Its second candidate is RLY-4008, designed to inhibit fibroblast growth factor receptor 2. The expected Phase I trial will focus on patients with advanced solid tumors with oncogenic FGFR2 alterations. The company hopes to take RLY-4008 into the clinic later this year.

A third candidate, RLY-PI3K1047, targets cancer-associated variants of phosphoinositide 3-kinase alpha. It is in preclinical development. It is being developed for cancer-associated mutant variants of phosphoinositide 3-kinase alpha.

Relay intends to use the monies raised by the IPO to take both RLY-197 and RLY-4008 partially through Phase II/III clinical trials, to fund some of the early-stage work on RLY-PI3K1048, and to continue work on its discovery programs.

“While our initial focus is on precision oncology, we believe our Dynamo platform may also be broadly applied to other areas of precision medicine, such as genetic disease,” the company wrote in the prospectus. “In addition to the three product candidates described above, we have five discovery stage programs across precision oncology and genetic disease. We are focused on using the novel insights derived from our approach to transform the lives of patient suffering from debilitating and life-threatening diseases through the discovery, development and commercialization of our therapies.”

The company’s Dynamo platform leverages new experimental techniques like room-temperature crystallography and using the Anton 2 supercomputer which was custom-built by D.E. Shaw Research to perform molecular dynamic protein simulations.

The company indicates in its prospectus that is used the Dynamo platform in three key phases of motion based drug design (MBDD): target modulation hypothesis; hit finding and lead generation; lead optimization.

Relay notes, “Our Dynamo platform uses advanced computational models in tight integration with our medicinal chemistry, structural biology, enzymology and biophysics capabilities to predict, design and experimentally evaluate compounds that will achieve the most desirable characteristics, including potency, selectivity, bioavailability, and drug-like properties. We believe our approach enables us to converge on optimized compounds with much greater efficiency than conventional approaches, which are typically highly iterative over an extended timeframe.”

At the time of the Series C financing, the company’s president and chief executive officer, Sanjiv Patel, said, “We are at a unique moment in the evolution of drug discovery where we can realize the promise of integrating ever more powerful experimental and computational discovery tools to tackle previously undruggable protein targets. The success of our early programs validates the potential of our platform to create breakthrough therapies that address a broad range of diseases.”

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