Aligos, Tarsus bank $238M as biotech IPO party continues

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Aligos and Tarsus join an ever-growing list of biotech companies that have gone public during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Alexander Naumann/Pixabay)

Let’s add two more to the list—a pair of clinical-stage biotechs collectively raised more than $200 million in their Nasdaq debuts. Hepatitis B and COVID-19-focused Aligos Therapeutics raised $150 million, while eye disease player Tarsus Pharmaceuticals reeled in $88 million.

Aligos tagged about $40 million for its lead program, LG-010133, an S-antigen transport-inhibiting oligonucleotide polymer (STOPS) molecule that’s in phase 1 for chronic hepatitis B, according to a securities filing. About $35 million will support a phase 1 trial and manufacturing for a second Hep B program: ALG-000184, a capsid assembly modulator designed to disrupt the replication of the hepatitis B virus.

Up to $54 million will bankroll Aligos’ earlier-stage prospects, including an antisense oliguncleotide program and a small interfering RNA (siRNA) approach for Hep B, as well as a treatment for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

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As for Tarsus, it earmarked the bulk of its proceeds, $65 million, to push its lead program, TP-03, through development and approval, and to gear up for a U.S. launch, the company said in a securities filing. The remainder will support a phase 2 study of TP-03 in a second indication.

Tarsus is seeking approval for TP-03 as a treatment for demodex blepharitis, or inflammation of the eyelid caused by demodex mites, commonly known as eyelash mites. The drug is designed to block specific ion channels in the mites to paralyze them. The company is also developing the drug for meibomian gland dysfunction.

Behind TP-03, Tarsus is working on TP-04 for rosacea and TP-05 as a preventive treatment for Lyme disease, as well as a tool to reduce malaria in communities. The IPO proceeds should get all three programs into phase 1/2 trials.

The companies join an ever-growing list of biotech companies that have gone public during the COVID-19 pandemic, including Annexon, Pliant Therapeutics, ORIC Pharmaceuticals, Forma Therapeutics and Repare Therapeutics.

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