JLABS alumnus Sienna guns for $75M IPO months after series B

Sienna joins a growing number of startups looking for an IPO in 2017

Sienna Pharmaceuticals is joining the small but growing biotech IPO renaissance this year as it goes for a $75 million offering.

The cash it hopes to raise via the Nasdaq (under the ticker $SNNA) will be put towards further testing for its candidates in skin ailments, including: Midstage asset SNA-120 (pegcantratinib), a first-in-class topical tropomyosin receptor kinase A for itchiness coming out of psoriasis, as well as the condition itself, and SNA-125, a dual kinase inhibitor (JAK3/TrkA), in the works for atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and pruritus.

It also has another tech platform, known as Topical Photoparticle Therapy, which uses laser light and a light-absorbing material, and is aimed at treating acne and reduce unwanted light-pigmented hair. SNA-001 is its leading candidate here.

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Currently, VC Arch Ventures owns the lion’s share of the company, with a 23.4% stake, with Partner Fund Management owning 9.5%.

This IPO attempt comes just a few months after it raised $40 million series B round, and continues its rapid rise, which has seen the company already raise $86 million and buy British biotech Creabilis, since it emerged helmed by the ex-Kythera Biopharmaceuticals team last year.

Both SNA-120 and SNA-125 were in fact taken on by the startup when it bought Creabilis for up to $150 million late last year.

The Creabilis takeover added a second strand to Sienna’s pipeline. Sienna developed the original strand while it was still a resident of Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS going by the name Sienna Labs. That part of Sienna’s pipeline consists of light-absorbing particles designed to enhance the effect of dermatologic lasers—namely, SNA-001.

Sienna has changed in more than just name since its JLABS days. The current management team is loaded with execs last seen leading Kythera and its double-chin treatment to a $2.1 billion takeover by Allergan.

CEO Frederick Beddingfield III, M.D., Ph.D. was CMO of Kythera. Sienna CMO Paul Lizzul, M.D., Ph.D. was senior medical director at Kythera. And Ryan Irvine, Ph.D., Diane Stroehmann, Jere Fellmann, Ph.D., Susan Lundeen and Majed Kheir also joined Sienna after helping Beddingfield and Lizzul drive Kythera to the Allergan takeover.

There has been an overlap in the investors in Kythera and Sienna, too. Existing investors Arch Venture Partners and Venvest Capital led its April B round. But Sienna also leant on new investors such as Fidelity Investments and Omega Fund, which accounted for around half of the money raised. Former Allergan CEO David Pyott participated, too.

This comes as the IPO market for biotechs finally heats up after a dismal 2016 and a slow start to 2017. In the last few months, there has been a hive of activity, and in the last week alone Sienna was joined by bone disease biotech Clementia in a major $115 million IPO attempt.

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