Initial public offerings (IPOs) —a vital source of cash for up-and-coming biotechs— saw a huge decline in 2022 with respect to the previous year. After 2021’s record of more than 100 biotech IPOs that raised almost USD 15 billion in funds, 2022 saw a mere 17 biotechnology companies launch IPOs on Nasdaq, raising proceeds of USD 1.1 billion. Here is a look at the three companies that led Nasdaq’s 2022 biotech IPO roster: HilleVax, Cincor, and Amylyx Pharmaceuticals.
Amount raised: USD 200M
Born from a partnership between Frazier Healthcare Partners and Takeda, HilleVax was set up to focus on what had been Takeda’s norovirus vaccine asset with founder, Tachi Yamada, former Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at Takeda.
The company’s lead program, HIL-214, a vaccine candidate for the prevention of moderate-to-severe acute gastroenteritis (AGE) caused by norovirus infection, has shown positive results in a recent immunogenicity analysis, part of the ongoing Phase 2b trial for which it looks to gather safety and efficacy data in the second half of 2023.
Norovirus, the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis, is an intestinal infection that can lead to diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea and fever. The infection causes some 200,000 deaths and 700 million cases around the world per year.
CinCor Pharma (CINC)
Amount raised: USD 194M
CinCor Pharma, a biotech focused on blood pressure, based its pipeline on a candidate it licenced from Roche designed to lower levels of aldosterone, a hormone that regulates blood pressure, without affecting cortisol synthesis.
CinCor’s lead candidate, baxdrostat, for the treatment of hypertension and other cardio-renal diseases, pursues an ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial, or “HALO” trial, in patients with uncontrolled hypertension, or uHTN. When the clinical trial missed its primary endpoint in November, 2022, the company’s share prices plummeted and AstraZeneca took advantage of the opportunity to get hold of the company for USD 1.8 billion.
“We are excited about the proposed acquisition of CinCor Pharma by AstraZeneca as we believe it offers the prospect of accelerating the development timeline and expanding the breadth of benefits patients with cardiorenal diseases might obtain from baxdrostat, if approved,” said CEO Marc de Garidel.
Amylyx Pharmaceuticals (AMLX)
Amount raised: USD 190M
Amylyx, focused on rare disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is the only one of the three to score FDA approval. The firm’s AMX0035 drug, branded as Relyvrio, won FDA approval in September of last year for the treatment of ALS in adults after showing a significant slowing in both disease progression and functional decline in a randomized clinical trial.
“Today’s FDA approval of RELYVRIO is an exciting milestone for the ALS community and is a major step toward achieving our mission to one day end the suffering caused by neurodegenerative diseases,” said Joshua Cohen and Justin Klee, Co-CEOs of Amylyx.
ALS, which affects some 29,000 people in the US, is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disorder caused by motor neuron death in the brain and spinal cord. The ALS Association, having invested USD 2.2 million in funds raised into the development of the drug, celebrated its approval.
The drug has been approved in Canada and is awaiting approval in Europe.