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Barry Cohen
Barry Cohen
Articles (198) 

4 More Biotechs Break From IPO Starting Gate

Inozyme Pharma is biggest gainer in first week as a public company

Four fledgling companies that recently joined the parade of biotechs marching to the initial public offering starting line have met with mixed investor reception.One of the companies is trading above its offering price, two are relatively flat and the fourth has lost value.

Pacing the gainers is Inozyme Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ:INZY), which went public at $16 and is up 15% to $18.40. At $19.57 Nurix Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:NRIX).is just more than 50 cents above its offering price, as is Annexon Inc. (NASDAQ:ANNX), which went public at $17. Dragging the group down is ITeos Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:ITOS), down more than 8% to $17.57 after seeing about $1.50 shaved off its price on Monday.

As I pointed out in a previous discussion, in the second quarter alone, biotechs raised $7.5 billion through 34 IPOs, nearly double the previous high for one quarter in the past 10 years. BioCentury reports that as of June 30, the median after-market performance of the second-quarter 2020 biotech IPOs was up 58%. Of the 34 IPOs, 29 had gained value. Sixteen companies have raised more than $200 million before July is out, according to an article in Endpoints.

Inozyme is a Boston-based biotech developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of diseases of abnormal mineralization impacting the vasculature, soft tissue and skeleton.

Mineralization is a biological process by which an organism deposits calcium salt crystals onto an organic extracellular matrix that gives rise to essential structures, such as bone and teeth, explains the company. In humans, this normal mineralization process begins as early as in fetal development and continues throughout life. Diseases of abnormal mineralization have high levels of morbidity and mortality and can have a genetic and non-genetic basis.

About two weeks ago, Inozyme acquired intellectual property and assets from Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALXN) to use in development of its lead drug candidate.

San Francisco-based Nurix is developing therapies that control a key enzyme responsible for the breakdown of proteins in human cells. It is applying this technology to treat a wide variety of diseases, with a focus on cancer.

The company has two big collaborations. One, with Sanofi (SNY), brought Nurix $55 million up front and could total as much as $2.5 billion in total payments based on milestones. In the other agreement, with Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD), Nurix collected $45 million at signing and is eligible for another $2.3 billion upon successful completion of certain work milestones as well as up to low double-digit royalties on net sales.

Annexon was covered in detail in an article published by GuruFocus earlier this month. The company, which calls San Francisco home, is working on drugs for autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders caused by an abnormal accumulation of a protein that is part of the immune system. The gathering of this protein can cause a response that destroys synapses, causing neurodegeneration.

If successful, the company’s treatments could be used against diseases like Guillain-Barré syndrome, warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia, Huntington’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to an article in End Points.

Iteos, a Belgian company with its U.S. headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, focuses on cancer therapies and has two drugs in clinical-stage testing. Immunotherapies, called “checkpoint inhibitors,” have helped change the way a number of cancers are treated by blocking a tumor cell’s ability to hide from the immune system. Unfortunately, some patients don’t respond or develop resistance to these drugs. The treatments Iteos is developing target two mechanisms it believes help suppress an anti-tumor immune response in the area immediately surrounding a tumor, according to an article in Xconomy.

Among other biotechs are also using this technology for drug development is Sangamo BioSciences Inc. (NASDAQ:SGMO).

Disclosure: The author has a position in Gilead Sciences.

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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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