The market for biotech IPOs has largely cooled since a first-quarter explosion brought in more than $2 billion, but drug developers Zafgen and Ardelyx managed to turn back the clock in their debuts, cashing out for a combined $156 million.
Zafgen has been turning heads with some jaw-dropping results from its mid-stage studies for a promising new obesity drug. And now the biotech hopes to parlay its eye-catching, if risky, technology into an $86 million IPO.
Today, Cambridge, MA-based Zafgen said that it is banking $45 million from a Series E round, adding a group of new investors that includes RA Capital Management, Brookside Capital, Venrock, Alta Partners, an undisclosed blue chip investor and a private investor.
Promising results from early-stage work on Zafgen's weight drug beloranib clear a path to a Phase IIb trial that can fine-tune the dose while taking more time to gauge the long-term impact of its treatment on weight and set the right tone for ongoing talks with investors about a new financing round for the biotech.
Reuters did an in-depth feature on Zafgen's promising obesity therapy beloranib. The drug works by blocking the methionine aminopeptidase 2, or MetAP2, enzyme--which plays a role in the body's production and use of fatty acids.
CHICAGO-- Zafgen has revealed some impressive weight-loss data from a midstage study of its experimental therapy beloranib, highlighting interim results after 12 weeks of treatment in 19 obese white women, according to the company.
Third Rock Ventures has established its third biotech fund in 6 years, bringing in a haul of $516 million for one of the most active groups of early-stage biotech investors in the world. The new fund, which brings the total it's raised to a whopping $1.3 billion-plus, will be used to launch another 16 or so drug developers.
Alta Partners has jumped into the venture syndicate, joining prolific biotech investor Third Rock and its high-profile colleagues at Atlas Venture, which are gambling that beloranib, which inhibits the MetAP2 enzyme, can set a whole new standard for weight-loss treatments.
Cambridge, MA-based Zafgen has taken another big step forward in its quest to develop a unique new weight drug. The biotech has laid out its plans for its first Phase IIa study of beloranib, which inhibits the MetAP2 enzyme.
The trend could create a wealth of opportunities for the developers because of the blockbuster market for weight drugs, one that Big Pharma is unlikely to neglect despite past failures with anti-obesity meds.