MyoKardia plots an $86M IPO with a novel take on cardio R&D

MyoKardia, taking a rare disease approach to cardiovascular drug development, is plotting to go public in an $86 million IPO and raise cash to push its Sanofi ($SNY)-partnered pipeline.

The South San Francisco-headquartered company is yet to disclose how many shares it will offer or at what price, and that $86 million figure is likely just a placeholder. All MyoKardia is disclosing for now is that it hopes to trade on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker "MYOK" and put the proceeds of its IPO toward a handful of treatments for some rare heart disorders.

MyoKardia's top prospect is MYK-461, a Phase I treatment for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which results in oversized cardiac walls that put a serious strain on cardiac function. Behind that is a preclinical treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy, in which the heart walls become dangerously thin and put patients at risk of sudden cardiac death, and an early-stage drug for a subgroup of HCM patients.

Each of those therapies is partnered with Sanofi under a 2014 deal in which the French drugmaker paid $45 million up front and promised up to $200 million more for a cut of their potential sales. MyoKardia is also at work on a wholly owned, discovery-stage treatment for another cardiac disorder that leads to impaired relaxation in the heart.

The company, founded by Third Rock Ventures in 2012, is taking a page from Vertex Pharmaceuticals ($VRTX) in its quest to develop therapies for heart failure. Much as Vertex attacked cystic fibrosis by focusing on one genetic mutation at a time, MyoKardia is setting its sights on small, orphan-like patient populations within the heart failure umbrella, hoping to gradually build its case for testing in wider indications.

Regardless of its pipeline promise, MyoKardia's IPO timing is less than ideal. On Monday, skittish investors spooked by looming drug pricing concerns and a few clinical misfires sent biotech indexes down sharply, erasing the sector's 2015 gains.

- read the filing