Inhibrx, Fresh Off $40M Funding to Advance Cancer Drugs, Eyes IPO

Xconomy San Diego — 

Two weeks after raising $40 million to push ahead with its drug development programs, Inhibrx submitted paperwork to the SEC revealing that it aims to raise money in the public market, too.

The La Jolla, CA-based company, which is developing protein drugs targeting cancer and other diseases, was founded in 2010. Read more about the company’s history and its recent $40 million financing round hedge fund Viking Global Investors here. Viking’s investment was a note that will convert into the company’s common stock after the initial public offering at a discount—equal to 90 percent of the price per share of the IPO, according to a regulatory filing.

Inhibrx, which set a preliminary target of almost $75 million for its IPO, plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq exchange under the stock symbol “INBX.” It plans to use some of the funds to complete two ongoing Phase 1 clinical trials of experimental cancer drugs as well as a Phase 1 trial it plans to start for a drug intended to treat a rare respiratory disease, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD).

Even as the public markets evince increasing shakiness, biotechs have continued to enter the IPO pipeline. Five such companies filed paperwork on May 24 alone.

Inhibrx has raised plenty of other money through licensing deals, too. Last month Inhibrx signed a deal with Chiesi Farmaceutici, an Italian pharmaceutical firm, that will give the company the option to license its AATD drug once it has completed a Phase 1 trial. To initiate the option, Chiesi agreed to pay Inhibrx $10 million within five days of its IPO. To exercise the option, which would give it the right to develop and commercialize the drug outside of the US and Canada, Chiesi would have to eventually put up $12.5 million more, according to the securities filing. Separately, Chiesi also agreed to buy $10 million in Inhibrx shares after the IPO at its IPO price.

In 2017 and in 2018, Inhibrx’s reported revenue from licensing fees and grants of about $8.4 million and $8.6 million, respectively, according to its filing. It booked that much in just the first three months of this year, about $8.5 million, mostly from a collaboration it signed in January with Bluebird Bio to develop cell therapy products. Separately, Bluebird announced today it won regulatory approval for its first gene therapy, a treatment for the rare blood disease beta thalassemia.

The company’s main stockholders include Lilly Asia Ventures and RA Capital.