Three more biotechs go public Friday as nothing seems able to slow down the 2020 train

Another day, another three biotechs price their IPOs. Such is 2020 in the biotech industry.

Friday’s winners are Kronos Bio, Shattuck Labs and Spruce Biosciences, all of whom are set to hit Nasdaq. Kronos raised the most of the bunch at $250.8 million. Shattuck also topped the $200 million-mark with a $202 million raise, while Spruce followed up with $90 million.

In terms of pricing, all three priced above their ranges. Kronos did so at $19 per share, Shattuck at $17 per share and Spruce at an upsized $15 a share.

The latest figures from independent analyst Brad Loncar peg the combined biotech industry raise at over $11 billion across four dozen IPOs through late August. That total surpassed the entire amount raised by biotechs that went public in all of 2019, and more than half had raised more than $200 million on their own — a group that now includes Kronos and Shattuck.

In a recent interview, Nasdaq’s head of healthcare listings Jordan Saxe told Endpoints News the tally was 56 IPOs with a total $11.3 billion raised. With three more biotechs going public Friday, the number is now closer to 60, a number not seen in any of the last four years. And more are coming, with Galecto filing its S-1 on Thursday.

Several factors have contributed to the exploding market, Saxe said, notably with the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting an already-impressive amount of innovation in the field. Saxe added that a “conservative” estimate of the final 2020 IPO number will end up between 65 and 70.

Kronos is the highest-profile of the bunch, with 30-year Gilead R&D veteran Norbert Bischofberger running the show since the company launched in 2018. The biotech recently acquired entospletinib, which was shelved when Bischofberger still worked at Gilead, as well as another SYK inhibitor, lanraplenib.

Per the biotech’s S-1, around $80 to $90 million of the IPO funds will go toward a Phase II/III trial to study entospletinib, now called ENTO, in combination with induction chemotherapy to treat acute myeloid leukemia patients with NPM1 mutations. Another $20 to $30 million will fund a Phase I/II trial in a CDK9 inhibitor, with the rest going toward their SYK and other programs. That’s all on top of $278 million in VC money.

Shattuck’s move to go public is the latest in a busy few months. Back in June, the company netted a $118 million Series B and now intends to use the IPO cash to push its lead program, a CD47 inhibitor and CD40 agonist, from Phase I to Phase II in ovarian cancer. The biotech also plans to finish a Phase I trial for its Takeda-partnered candidate, SL-279252, for advanced solid tumors and lymphoma.

Finally, Spruce has also had a packed year after pulling in a $88 million Series B in February, and they focus their pipeline on classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia. The company is undergoing two Phase IIb trials for tildacerfont, a non-steroidal treatment for CAH, in adult patients with both good and poor disease control. About $5 million will be used to wrap up these trials, while another $20 million will help commercialize the candidate. $40 million will help fund additional CAH research in pediatric patients.

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