Kodiak Sciences preps $100M IPO to advance AMD drug

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Kodiak's lead asset is designed to have a longer half-life than other anti-VEGF drugs. The hope is to improve patient adherence to a treatment that is injected into the eyes. (Pexels)

Kodiak Sciences has filed to raise up to $100 million in its IPO, which will support the phase 2 development of its lead asset, an anti-VEGF drug for eye diseases. It is currently being tested in multiple trials in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy. 

Wet AMD is generally treated with anti-VEGF drugs that help prevent the growth of leaky blood vessels in the eye. This growth causes wet AMD’s signature scarring and death of photo receptors. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a complication of diabetes in which high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels in the retina. Like AMD, advanced DR is characterized by the formation of new and abnormal blood vessels that may leak. Advanced cases of DR and diabetic macular edema (DME) may also be treated with anti-VEGF injections. 

This treatment, injected directly into the eyes, can be—understandably—unattractive to patients. Palo Alto, California-based Kodiak is aiming to improve this with its lead drug, KSI-301. 

KSI-301 is, like Regeneron’s Eylea, an anti-VEGF biologic. But what sets it apart from other drugs in its class is an extended ocular half-life. In other words, it sticks around longer in the eyes, which would allow patients to go longer between injections. The hope is that more patients will stay on the treatment if injections are less frequent. 

The IPO proceeds will carry KSI-301 into phase 2 trials in China for wet AMD, DR and DME, as well as a phase 2 trial in “the U.S., EU and rest of the world” in those same indications, it said in an S-1 filed Friday. It will also bankroll a phase 2 wet AMD trial in the U.S. et al. through enrollment and support R&D for a second drug, KSI-501, which is currently in preclinical development. 

The biotech raised $33 million in mezzanine private financing in April, which followed a $34 million series B picked up in 2016.