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Barry Cohen
Barry Cohen
Articles (260) 

Repare and Forma Shares Gobbled Up in IPO

Both companies boosted price and number of shares in their offerings

Investors fed their voracious appetites for biotech Friday when two life science companies traded well above offering prices in their market debuts.

Repare Therapeutics Inc.(NASDAQ:RPTX) and Forma Therapeutics Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:FMTX) both had highly successful coming out parties.

Caption: Repare has a deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb that leverages Repare’s CRISPR-based screening technology called SNIPRx to identify cancer targets.

Photo Credit: Repare Therapeutics

Repare originally planned to offer 7.5 million shares at a range of $16 to $18, according to an article in BioCentury. The offering was bumped up to 11 million shares at $20. In raising $220 million, the company traded as high as $34 on Friday and was at $32.50 the following Monday.

Forma was received even more favorably. Shares of the Watertown, Massachusetts-based company soared 95% to close at $39 after touching $47.49 during trading on Friday. The stock was up to nearly $41 on Monday. Forma raised $276 million. Its initial public offering priced 13.8 million shares at $20. That was $2 higher than expected. It originally planned to sell about 11.7 million shares.

Both deals drew strong interest from institutional investors, who wanted far more shares than what was being made available, according to IPO research and advisory firm IPO Botique.

Repare is based in Montreal but operates out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Earlier last week, the cancer development company struck a deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) that leverages Repare’s CRISPR-based screening technology called SNIPRx to identify cancer targets. Bristol-Myers gets exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize drug candidates under the agreement. Repare gets $65 million upfront, while Bristol-Myers also gets a $15 million equity investment. If all goes according to plan, Repare stands to pocket another $3 billion.

A number of other companies are also using CRISPR-based technology to find synthetically lethal cancer drugs, including two private companies, Tango Therapeutics and Cyteir Therapeutic. Others are Bayer AG (XTER:BAYN), Merck Serono (MKKGY) and IDEAYA Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ:IDYA).

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Repare’s plans to file paperwork asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to grant it permission to begin clinical trials of its top product candidate later this quarter. A phase 1 or 2 study could follow in the third quarter.

Forma is focused on developing treatments for hematologic diseases and cancers. The company said its pipeline consists of six product candidates, two of which it is pursuing as top medications for development. One is for treating sickle cell disease and the other for a type of prostate cancer.

The biotech is studying its sickle cell drug in patients age 12 and older who have the blood disorder. About 100,000 people in the U.S. are affected by the inherited condition. A host of companies are also developing drugs for sickle cell, including Imara Inc. (NASDAQ:IMRA) and bluebird bio Inc. (NASDAQ:BLUE). Global Blood Therapeutics Inc.’s. (GBT) once-daily drug for sickle cell was approved late last year.

In April, Forma got the OK to begin humans with its prostate cancer drug, the second leading cause of cancer death for men in the U.S. The type that Forma’s drug is intended to treat is the most advanced form of the disease. Other companies testing drugs for this disease are the U.K.’s CellCentric and Constellation Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:CNST).

Disclosure: The author has no positions in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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About the author:

Barry Cohen
Barry Cohen has nearly 40 years experience in communications and marketing, the majority in senior positions at large international health care companies, including Abbott Laboratories and Bayer Inc.

He has contributed to a number of financial websites, writing primarily about the stocks of health care companies.

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