Verve Stock Takes a Hit on $148M Offering to Public, Lilly

Pictured: Stock prices shown on computer and mobile screens/iStock

Pictured: Stock prices shown on computer and mobile screens/iStock

After revealing early data for its gene editing therapy, Verve Therapeutics is moving forward with a public offering and a private placement with Eli Lilly. The Boston-based biotech announced an underwritten public offering of 12.5 million shares of its common stock at $10 per share.

The stock sale will bring in $125 million for Verve. The company also gives underwriters a 30-day option to purchase an additional 1,875,000 shares of stock.

Along with the stock offering, Verve has agreed to sell over 2.2 million shares to Eli Lilly at the $10 per share price. This sale will bring in $23 million for the company. Verve expects combined gross proceeds of $148 million for the two deals.

The sale at $10 is less than where Verve’s stock sat at, over $11, on Tuesday. The news has also not given Wall Street confidence, as the stock was down over 13% premarket on Wednesday.

The partnership between Verve and Eli Lilly started in June, as the Indiana-based pharma invested $60 million for its cardiovascular gene editing program. Verve will be responsible for advancing its Lp(a)-targeting therapy past the Phase I stage, which Lilly will take over afterward. According to the prospectus on the stock offerings submitted to the SEC, Verve can receive up to $465 million in research, development and commercial milestone payments and royalties on global sales.  

For the stock sales, the SEC document said that Verve would use the cash to fund the development of VERVE-101, an in vivo medicine that inactivates the PCSK9 gene in the liver to lower blood low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and is being investigated to treat patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH).

The sales will also go towards supporting the clinical trial for VERVE-101, known as the heart-1 clinical trial, and starting Phase I trials for its other candidates, VERVE-102 and Verve-201, which are also intended to treat HeFH.Verve will also use the cash to research new programs and for “other general corporate purposes.”

Earlier this month, Verve revealed early Phase Ib data for VERVE-101, showing a “dose-dependent decrease” in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). The two patients who received a dose saw an average LDL-C drop of 39% and 48%. Patients with the maximum amount of the drug had a 55% time-averaged reduction in LDL-C.

VERVE-101 has also been under the FDA’s microscope in the past year as the agency placed a clinical hold on enrolling participants in clinical trials as the agency was cautious around base editing technology. The hold was lifted in October 2023.

Tyler Patchen is a staff writer at BioSpace. You can reach him at tyler.patchen@biospace.com. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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