Recently, I noticed that oncology companies are in the news for raising new financing or even announcing IPO's, and wondered if that was an anomaly after the credit shutdown following the Wall St crisis. In general, my perception was that they seemed to be down overall. To find out more, I checked out the VC funding statistics at OnBioVC:
Surprisingly, oncology dominates the market at the moment, with the latest data being available from 3Q09: nearly one-third were from oncology alone during that period. According to the report, they represented:
"… a diverse therapeutic approach; from small molecules targeting the inhibition of receptor tyrosine kinase to HDAC to metallo-enzymes to PI3K and mTOR, as well as a variety of mAb’s and therapeutic vaccines."
In more terms, though, the aggregated dollars raised per sector is significantly down over the same period in 2008:
Last October, Auxilium received proceeds, net of offering expenses and underwriting discounts and commissions, of approximately $115.7 million. The company closed its previously announced public offering of 3,000,000 shares of common stock at a price of $34.50 per share.
Meanwhile, last week was a busy one.
Firstly, Ironwood raised $188M from their IPO in one of the biggest deals of the decade (more than Eyetech's $150M in 2004) by selling over 16M of shares at a price of $11.25. It was, however, perceived to be a discount price, because their SEC filings in November hoped for a higher target of $14-16/share. As a friend commented last week, "Well, $188M isn't chump change!"
"is preparing for a 50 million euro ($70 million) initial public offering next month in a move that could make it France's first biotech stock exchange listing since mid-2008."
What's interesting about AB Science is that the company have yet to officially announce or confirm the date of the IPO, although they made clear their intent to pursue one in 1Q10 when we interviewed Alain Moussy, the CEO, in October.
The company has an interesting KIT inhibitor on the market in Europe, masitinib, for mastocytosis in dogs and is now developing the drug in pancreatic cancer for humans. In order to fund the phase III trials, more financing is needed so the IPO is clearly a sign that the company is going places.
This week heralds the annual BIO CEO meeting in New York, where there will doubt be a lot of interesting discussions and presentations going on. The schedule is packed with a quite a few oncology focused companies, so more news will be covered on this blog later this week as details emerge. Sadly, I will miss the event, as I'll be at the ePharma meeting in Philadelphia. More on that tomorrow!