Ideaya and Bicycle Therapeutics IPOs Raise $110M for Cancer Drug R&D

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Ideaya Biosciences and Bicycle Therapeutics priced their IPOs late Wednesday, raising a combined $110 million to continue clinical trials of their respective experimental cancer drugs.

South San Francisco-based Ideaya raised $50 million. The company priced its offering of 5 million shares at $10 apiece, well below the targeted price range of $13 to $15 per share. Those shares are expected to begin trading Thursday on the Nasdaq under the stock symbol “IDYA.”

Lead Ideaya drug IDE196 was originally developed by Novartis (NYSE: NVS). The small molecule drug blocks protein kinase C, a family of proteins associated with cancer. The drug was developed to target cancers that have GNAQ or GNA11 gene mutations, which are frequently found in metastatic uveal melanoma, a type of eye cancer. Novartis tested IDE196 in a Phase 1 study in the eye cancer but Ideaya says the drug could potentially address a broader range of cancers.

Ideaya has licensed rights to the Novartis drug, and it has the go-ahead from the FDA to start a Phase 1/2 clinical trial testing it in solid tumors that have GNAQ or GNA11 mutations. That study is expected to begin in the second or third quarter of this year. The company says in the IPO filing that it plans to spend between $27 million and $32 million of the IPO proceeds on its lead drug.

Ideaya’s preclinical drug pipeline includes compounds that employ an approach called synthetic lethality. The idea is to tap into the genetic interactions that together will trigger the death of cancer cells. Ideaya follows other companies that have researched synthetic lethality. Drugs that use this approach have reached the market for ovarian cancer. Companies vying to use synthetic lethality to treat other cancers include Repare Therapeutics and Cyteir Therapeutics.

Since its founding in 2015, Ideaya has raised more than $140 million, according to the prospectus. Its investors include Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG), GV, Novartis (NYSE: NVS), and Roche Financial. The company’s largest shareholder prior to the IPO was 5AM Ventures, which held an 18.7 percent stake, followed by Canaan Partners’ 15.6 percent stake.

Meanwhile, the Bicycle Therapeutics IPO raised $60.6 million. Bicycle priced its offering of approximately 4.4 million shares at $14 apiece, which was the low end of its targeted price range. Those shares are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Thursday under the stock symbol “BCYC.”

Bicycle, which is based in Cambridge, UK, and has US operations in Lexington, MA, is developing drugs based on chains of amino acids called peptides. Peptide drugs are intended to offer properties of both large and small molecule drugs. The company, calls its drugs “bicycles,” a reference to the two-loop shape of its peptides.

Lead Bicycle drug BT1718 is being tested in a Phase 1/2a study in patients with advanced solid tumors. Enrollment in the Phase 1 portion is underway; once the recommended dose of the drug has been determined, the company says it will proceed to the Phase 2a part of the trial. Two other compounds, BT5528 and BT8009, are in preclinical development.

According to the IPO prospectus, Bicycle plans to spend between $35 million and $40 million for Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies testing its lead drug. The company will also use the capital to advance its two preclinical compounds to human testing.

Since its founding in 2009, Bicycle has raised approximately $116 million. Bicycle says its technology could treat diseases other than cancer, and it is pursuing those applications with partners. A collaboration with AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) is focused on respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic diseases. The company is working with Bioverativ on hemophilia treatments, and with Oxurion on ophthalmology drugs. Bicycle is also working with the Dementia Discovery Fund to develop dementia drugs.

Prior to the IPO, Bicycle’s largest shareholder was Vertex Global Healthcare Fund I with a 12.76 percent stake, followed by Novartis Bioventures at 12.67 percent, and SR One with 12.18 percent.

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