Alumis sets out IPO ambitions to fund TYK2 inhibitor through phase 3 psoriasis trials

Not content with bringing in one of the largest private biotech fundraises of 2024 so far, Alumis has now become the latest drug developer to set its sights on the public markets.

The California-based company has yet to disclose how many shares will be sold or at what price but said in a June 7 Securities and Exchange Commission filing that proceeds would be used to accelerate a pipeline of oral therapies designed to tackle immune dysfunction.

Specifically, Alumis plans to use part of the IPO haul to advance the development of its lead asset, an allosteric tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) inhibitor called ESK-001, into multiple phase 3 trials in moderate to severe plaque psoriasis later this year. Alumis will also complete ongoing phase 2 trials in a type of eye inflammation called uveitis as well as in systemic lupus erythematosus.

Some of the money will be used to push ahead with a phase 1 trial of another allosteric TYK2 inhibitor, dubbed A-005, in healthy volunteers, the company explained in the filing. A-005 is being lined up as a possible treatment for neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.

The announcement of IPO ambitions comes just three months after Alumis brought in a  $259 million series C financing that saw Lilly Asia Ventures join a list of investors headed up by Foresite Capital, Samsara BioCapital and venBio Partners. It was the largest private biotech fundraise of the year at that point, although it was soon overtaken by Mirador Therapeutics’ $400 million series A.

At the time, Alumis President and CEO Martin Babler told Fierce Biotech that the fundraise reflected investors’ confidence in the biotech’s team, assets, strategy and technology.

“I think that we're fortunate that we are actually more advanced with our molecule,” Babler added in the same March interview. “That has helped—companies that have proof-of-concept and are more advanced are probably having it a little bit easier to raise money today.”

Babler didn’t discount the possibility of an IPO down the line, only telling Fierce at the time that it was one of many options to consider for the future. 

A couple of days after the financing, Alumis’ confidence in ESK-001—which Babler had described as an “extremely well-behaved molecule”—was affirmed when the drug met its primary endpoint of improving psoriasis in a phase 2 study.

When set against data for Bristol Myers Squibb’s approved plaque psoriasis therapy Sotyktu, Alumis said at the time that ESK-001 had demonstrated “potential to be a best in class oral TYK2 inhibitor.”

Alumis’ IPO announcement Friday is the latest in a trickle of summer biotech offerings. Third Rock’s Rapport Therapeutics went public on the same day with an upsized $154 million offering, capping off a week that also saw Australia-listed Telix Pharmaceuticals set out plans to bring in over $200 million via a Nasdaq debut.

The string of announcements back up the predictions of Medicxi Partner Francesco De Rubertis, Ph. D., who told Fierce last month that he expected the biotech IPO window to reopen this summer.