Epizyme Heads Back to Wall Street, Plans $140M Raise

Xconomy Boston — 

Epizyme saw its stock jump up a few weeks ago after hitting a milestone in its big partnership with Celgene. Now it plans to use some of that momentum to raise some more cash from public investors.

On Monday morning, Cambridge, MA-based Epizyme (NASDAQ: EPZM) filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission showing it plans to raise as much as $140 million in cash through a public offering of stock. Epizyme hasn’t priced the offerings or said how many shares it plans to sell as of yet, but it would use the cash to help bankroll early clinical trials of EPZ-5676 and EPZ-6438, two epigenetic drug candidates it’s developing to treat patients with genetically-defined subtypes of blood cancers like acute myeloid leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The planned raise comes about eight months after Epizyme first went public at $15 per share, hauling in around $80 million in one of the more successful biotech IPOs of 2013. Epizyme’s shares have since gone through some big ups and downs after early looks into the first clinical trial for EPZ-5676.

Most recently, that was a swing upward. Epizyme got a $25 million milestone payment from Summit, NJ-based Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) after a few measurable responses were seen in some patients with mixed lineage leukemia taking EPZ-5676, and shares soared about 75 percent, to about $36 apiece from $20.50.

Epizyme said recently it expected to have about $145 million in cash and accounts receivable by the end of 2013. It plans to have four proof-of-concept studies up and running this year that would test both of its drug candidates in five genetically-defined cancer patient groups.