Erasca, a biotech developing therapies designed to hit a notoriously difficult cancer target, now has $ 300 million in fresh cash to continue clinical development of its lead programs and bring a list of additional drug candidates to human testing.
The San Diego-based company initially planned to offer 17.5 million shares in the range of $ 14 to $ 16 each. But Erasca could expand the deal to 18.75 million shares offered at the top of the projected price range. On Friday, those shares began trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker “ERAS.” Erasca closed its first day of trading at $ 17.43 per share, almost 9% more than the IPO price.
The name Erasca is an acronym for “erase cancer”, which the company adopts as its mission, repeated many times throughout its IPO presentation. The company jokingly reveals that it refers to its employees as “Erascales.” But the name of the company also reveals its focus: “ME.settle RAS-driven Californiaancer, ”wrote founder and CEO Jonathan Lim in a letter included in the prospectus.
RAS genes encode proteins that play a role in cell signaling, acting as an on / off switch that regulates cell growth. Mutations can keep the switch stuck in the “on” position. The result is unregulated cell growth that drives cancer. While the role of RAS in cancer is understood, managing it has been difficult. Erasca is developing therapies that block the RAS gene and the MAPK pathway, which form one of the most frequently altered signaling pathways in cancer.
Of the company’s 11 pipeline programs, two have reached the clinic. ERAS-007 is in trial phase 2 in patients whose solid tumors have been altered by RAS / MAPK, regardless of the type of tissue where the tumor developed. ERAS-601 is in phase 1 testing in RAS / MAPK-altered tumors. Both are small molecule oral drugs. But Erasca isn’t tied to a particular type of drug, and while his singular approach is to shut down RAS / MAPK, he says he can do so with small molecules, large molecules, or protein-degrading drugs. Additional programs are moving toward clinical trials.
“We expect to have four candidate products in the clinic within the next six quarters, plus a [Investigational New Drug application] filing every 12 to 18 months for the next five years, ”Erasca said in the insert.
Although RAS has been difficult to drug, it can no longer claim the mantle of being indisputable. In May, Amgen obtained FDA approval for Lumakras, a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) drug that targets a rare KRAS mutation, part of the RAS family. But NSCLC has a tendency to spread to the brain, and this is an area in which Erasca believes it can differentiate itself. In the OPI filing, Erasca cites animal tests of the approved drug Amgen and the experimental adagrasib, from Mirati Therapeutics, showing that those drugs failed to penetrate the central nervous system. Erasca says he is developing drugs that target the same rare KRAS mutation and offer comparable or even better efficacy while also having the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.
City Hill Ventures is Erasca’s largest shareholder, holding a 10.3% stake after the IPO, according to the prospectus. ARCH Venture Partners owns 9.5% of the company after the IPO. Before going public, Erasca had raised a total of $ 320.4 million. At the end of the first quarter of this year, the company reported having $ 217.3 million in cash. That cash, combined with proceeds from the IPO, will be deployed in the Erasca pipeline.
According to the prospectus, the company plans to spend between $ 90 million and $ 100 million on a series of Phase 1b / 2 tests of its leading candidate drug through reporting data on one or more of those studies. Another $ 45 million to $ 50 million will go towards the development of ERAS-601 through reading data from the ongoing phase 1 clinical trial. The company has budgeted between $ 75 million and $ 90 million for the ongoing discovery and development of the other RAS / MAPK drugs in the works, which could advance one or more of them to human testing. The company estimates it has enough money to fund operations for at least the next two years.
Imago IPO Raises $ 134M, Plus $ 20M from Pfizer
Imago BioSciences raised $ 134.4 million to continue clinical development of its main drug, which is being developed as a treatment for bone marrow cancers. The South San Francisco-based company planned to sell 7 million shares in the range of $ 14 to 16 each. Imago was able to increase the size of the deal by offering 8.4 million shares at the top of your target price range. Those shares are traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol “IMGO.”
At the same time as the IPO, Pfizer agreed to buy $ 20 million worth of Imago shares at the IPO price, according to the user information.
Imago’s research focuses on small molecules that target lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), a key enzyme for the production of blood cells in the bone marrow. The Imago pipeline, so far, is a drug candidate, bomedemstat. That drug is being developed to treat several myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), a family of chronic cancers that affect the bone marrow. The three most common of these disorders are myelofibrosis, essential thrombocythemia, and polycythemia vera. Phase 2 studies are underway to evaluate bomedemstat in myelofibrosis and essential thrombocythemia.
Since Imago’s formation in 2012, the company has raised $ 164.8 million, according to the IPO filing. The company’s largest shareholder is Clarus Lifesciences, with a 10.5% stake after the IPO. Frazier Healthcare Partners and Omega Fund each have a 9% stake in the company after the IPO.
At the end of the first quarter of this year, Imago reported a cash position of $ 82.7 million. With the available cash, Pfizer investment, and the proceeds from the IPO, the company plans to allocate $ 50 million to clinical development of bomedemstat for essential thrombocythemia by completing Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials. Other reserved. $ 10 million to develop the drug for phase 2 myelofibrosis testing. The capital will also go towards the manufacture of bomedemstat, the development of the drug for other indications and internal R&D.
With First Clinical Trials Ahead, TScan Initial Public Offering Raises $ 100 Million
TScan Therapeutics, a company that designs T cells from patients to produce their cancer immunotherapies, raised $ 100 million to advance their programs to their first human trials. Biotech based in Waltham, Massachusetts Offered nearly 6.7 million shares for $ 15 each, which was the lower limit of its projected price of $ 15 to $ 17 per share. TScan’s shares are traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker “TCRX.”
TScan analyzes T cells from cancer patients who have had exceptional responses to immunotherapy. Biotechnology said in its IPO presentation that its TargetScan technology learns the targets that are recognized by T-cell receptors (TCRs), providing the company with a TCR / target pair that can become a therapeutic candidate. A second technology called ReceptorScan identifies TCRs that are active against targets that have been previously identified and validated. The best TCR candidates identified by both technologies are added to TScan’s TCR collection called ImmunoBank.
A TScan therapy is performed by obtaining white blood cells from a healthy patient or donor. At the company’s manufacturing facility, T cells are isolated and designed using ImmunoBank TCR sequences. Those cells are sent back to the hospital and infused into the patient. These cells are expected to proliferate within the patient, generating an antitumor response.
TScan’s portfolio encompasses six programs in both liquid and solid tumors. The two most advanced programs are for liquid tumors. TSC-100 and TSC-101 are in development for acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and acute lymphocytic leukemia. The company expects to submit investigational new drug requests to the FDA for both in the fourth quarter of this year.
Solid tumor programs (TSC-200, TSC-201, TSC-202, and TSC-203) are being developed for cancers of the head and neck, cervix, and anus, as well as non-small cell cancer and melanoma . These programs are in the lead optimization stage.
Since TScan was founded in 2018, biotech has raised $ 160 million, most recently a $ 100 million Series C round financing in January. Baker Bros. Advisors is the largest shareholder, with an 18.2% stake after the IPO, according to the prospectus.
TScan plans to spend around $ 30 million on Phase 1/2 testing of TSC-100, TSC-101, and TSC-102, leading each of them through to completion of the Phase 1 portion and part of the study. from Phase 2. Another $ 35 million is set aside to incorporate three preclinical programs into Phase 1 trials; $ 25 million is earmarked to develop its discovery-stage programs.