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Turning Point Therapeutics Plans IPO to Advance Targeted Cancer Drugs

Xconomy San Diego — 

Turning Point Therapeutics, which is developing targeted cancer drugs for patients whose tumors resist other precision therapies, has outlined plans for an IPO.

The company, which started operations in 2014, has raised nearly $148 million since inception. It is headed by Athena Countouriotis, who joined the company in May as its chief medical officer, then was promoted to chief executive in September.

The San Diego biotech is developing what it describes as a “next-generation” drug as a treatment for cancers associated with genetic variations that alter the enzymes ALK, ROS1, and TRK. Drugs already exist for some cancers associated with those enzymes, but patients can develop resistance to these types of treatments.

Turning Point’s lead drug candidate, repotrectinib, is in a Phase 1/2 trial with patients with solid tumors associated with genetic variations that alter those enzymes, including advanced non-small cell lung cancer with a genetic mutation associated with ROS1, and either haven’t been treated with or haven’t responded to one of those existing treatments, such as the Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) drug crizotinib (Xalkori). With the IPO funds, the San Diego biotech said, it plans to move repotrectinib into Phase 2 testing in the second half of this year. It also aims to get two other drug candidates into the clinic this year.

The company said its drugs are intended to reduce both treatment resistance and toxicities that can result during treatment with other drugs, and can limit how long patients can take such drugs. Turning Point set a placeholder figure of $100 million for its IPO fundraising target. (The company, founded in October 2013 as TP Therapeutics, changed its name to Turning Point in November.)

In October, the company raised an $80 million mezzanine financing round led by Foresite Capital and venBio Partners. HBM Partners (via its HBM Healthcare Investments fund) and Nextech Invest, both based in Switzerland, joined as new investors. Existing investors Cormorant Asset Management, Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV), OrbiMed Advisors, and SR One are also invested. (LAV was established as Lilly’s corporate venture arm, but later spun off as an independent management company.)

Before that round, Turning Point raised more than $64 million, including a $45 million Series C round in May 2017, led by LAV, OrbiMed, and SR.

Turning Point’s largest investor shareholder is Cormorant, with 13.3 percent of shares. LAV, OrbiMed, and SR each have 8.2 percent; Foresite and venBio hold 6.3 percent each.

In 2017 and 2018, the company spent a total of about $36 million for research and development, according to the documents it filed Thursday. It reported losses of about $41 million over the two-year span. As of the end of 2018, it had about $101 million in cash on hand, according to its financials.