Biotech IPOs are faring well this fall. That’s despite tough talk from U.S. politicians on biopharma pricing, as the topic has become a focal point in the presidential elections. In a second IPO of the week, Myovant Sciences ($MYOV) raised a larger-than-expected offering after it priced at the top of its projected range and raised the number of shares.
The Myovant IPO was backed by new investors Pfizer ($PFE) and European healthcare investor BB Biotech, each of which bought $30 million of the IPO. Pfizer gains a right of first negotiation and a board observer seat at Myovant.
“Pfizer ended up as a lead investor with a $30 million investment,” Myovant President and CEO Dr. Lynn Seely told FierceBiotech. “Pfizer, of course, recently acquired Medivation for expanding their oral prostate cancer offerings. It’s not a coincidence that they are interested in Myovant’s prostate cancer candidate.” Seely is in a position to know; she is the former CMO of Medivation, which sold to Pfizer for $14 billion in September.
The Pfizer first negotiation rights include the right to buy Myovant or its assets, as well as to license or buy the company’s only two candidates: relugolix, which is in trials to treat heavy menstrual bleeding associated with uterine fibroids, endometriosis-associated pain, and advanced prostate cancer; and RVT-602, which is being developed to treat female infertility as part of assisted reproduction. The company’s candidates were in-licensed from Takeda in April.
“I was working with Roivant as they started doing due diligence,” Seely said of the Takeda candidates. “This is a targeted therapy with a validated mechanism of action. We are hoping to bring to market something that has not existed before--an oral GnRH antagonist. The drug targets each of three $1 billion markets. There have been multiple Phase II trials in each indication. There was a strong development package, where you could really understand the data.”
In the IPO, Myovant sold 14.5 million shares, up from a previously expected 13 million. Those went at $15 apiece, the top of its anticipated range, to raise $218 million. That values the company at about $900 million, despite the fact that it was just founded earlier this year. Underwriters have an option to purchase another 2.2 million shares.
The company will use the cash to advance a trio of simultaneous Phase III programs for relugolix that will start early next year.
Summed up Seely on Myovant’s clinical rationale, “Relugolix has a nice long half-life and significant potency, there is another oral GnRH antagonist from AbbVie--elagolix. Relugolix positions very favorably to that. Takeda and AbbVie both market the current standard treatment, leuprolide, and both believe that the next generation is an oral GnRH antagonist. Right now uterine fibroids and endometriosis are thought of as needing surgical treatment; we want to provide an alternative,” summed up Seely.
Myovant has followed in the footsteps of Axovant Sciences; both are part of umbrella company Roivant Sciences. Each in-licensed pharma assets, with Axovant built around an Alzheimer’s disease deal with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), and then quickly turned that around into an IPO-ready company. Vivek Ramaswamy is the president and chief executive officer of Roivant; he was previously an investor with QVT Financial.
Axovant had what was reported to be the largest biotech IPO at $315 million in June 2015.