Bio IPO Madness: Six Biotech Startups Raise $568M in 24 Hours

Xconomy National — 

The window for biotech IPOs remains wide open and six more companies have charged through it, raising more than $568 million in the span of 24 hours.

The first was Eidos Therapeutics (NASDAQ: EIDX), which raised $106 million in its stock market debut. The San Francisco company priced its IPO late Tuesday, selling 6.25 million shares at $17 each, which was on the high end of its projected $15 to $17 range. Eidos will use the cash to fund studies of AG10, a drug in mid-stage testing for transthyretin (TTR) amyloidosis, a progressive and fatal condition caused by the abnormal buildup of amyloid protein in the body. The company will also apply the cash toward Phase 2 studies in TTR cardiomyopathy, when the amyloid accumulates in heart tissue, and late-stage studies in a form of the disease that affects the peripheral nerves. It is chasing Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY) and Akcea Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AKCA), which each could have TTR drugs on the market soon.

Eidos was formed last year by BridgeBio Pharma, a Palo Alto, CA startup creator that manages its subsidiaries in a “hub and spoke model.” BridgeBio functions as a central hub for resources that are shared by the startups it creates. On Wednesday, the first day of trading for Eidos, the company’s shares closed at $23.12, up 36 percent from the IPO price.

Five more biotechs followed Eidos, pricing their IPOs Wednesday night. Each either met or exceeded their IPO targets, continuing a strong run for biotech offerings in 2018. Here’s a roundup of their stock offerings:

—Avrobio (NASDAQ: AVRO) raised $99.7 million in an upsized IPO to back clinical tests of its gene therapy for Fabry disease, a rare, inherited enzyme deficiency. The Cambridge, MA, company sold 5.3 million shares at $19 apiece. The company had initially planned to sell 4.4 million shares for between $16 to $18 each. Avrobio has already begun a Phase 2 test of its Fabry gene therapy, AVR-RD-01. The first patient was treated in early June.

—Xeris Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: XERS), of Chicago, raised $85.5 million by selling 5.7 million shares at $15, right at the midpoint of its projected $14 to $16 range. Xeris, which also has an office in Austin, TX, is preparing to file for FDA approval of its Glucagon Rescue Pen, a drug/device combination product that administers a ready-to-use, room temperature formulation of glucagon to treat severe hypoglycemia, a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes.

—Aptinyx (NASDAQ: APTX), of Evanston, IL, raised $102.4 million to support two mid-stage studies of an experimental drug, NYX-2925, for chronic pain. The Evanston, IL, company’s lead drug candidate, NYX-2925, is in two Phase 2 studies. One study is in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The other tests the drug in patients with fibromyalgia. The company says in its filing that preliminary results are expected in the first half of next year. Investors bought 6.4 million shares for $16 each in the IPO, at the high end of Aptinyx’s $14 to $16 range.

—South San Francisco, CA-based Kezar Life Sciences (NASDAQ: KZR) nabbed $75 million by selling 5 million shares at $15 apiece, within its $14 to $16 target. Kezar’s most advanced drug candidate, KZR-616, is in early-stage testing for lupus and lupus nephritis, which affects the kidneys. The company believes the drug could also be useful for other autoimmune diseases. Kezar says in its filing that it plans to run up to four more clinical trials next year.

—Magenta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MGTA) raised $100 million from its IPO. The Cambridge company priced 6.7 million shares at $15, within its $14 to $16 range. Magenta has a pipeline of therapies, each developed to improve a different aspect of the bone marrow transplant process.

Here’s more on how the biotech IPO class of 2018 has performed so far.

Photo by Nasdaq