OnKure hitches Reneo's ride to Nasdaq in merger, with $65M PIPE to boot

OnKure Therapeutics has merged with Reneo Pharmaceuticals, jumping onto Wall Street with $120 million and a lead breast cancer treatment challenging the likes of Eli Lilly, Relay and Scorpion. 

The merged biotech will retain OnKure's name and is set to trade under the ticker “OKUR.” As part of Monday’s deal, Reneo raised a $65 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) financing, corralling backers of OnKure’s 2023 series C round including Acorn Bioventures, Cormorant Asset Management, Deep Track Capital, Perceptive Advisors, Samsara BioCapital, Surveyor Capital and Vestal Point Capital. Reneo just needs to make sure that it has $55 million in cash on hand at the time of deal closing. 

Should the merger close and the conditions of the PIPE be met, the enlarged OnKure will have $120 million in total cash, enough to last into the fourth quarter of 2026. 

“We are pleased to announce our proposed merger with Reneo Pharmaceuticals, allowing us to create a publicly traded company focused on advancing OnKure’s lead, mutant-specific programs targeting PI3Kα in breast cancer,” OnKure President and CEO Nicholas Saccomano said in a release. 

That lead asset, OKI-219, just entered its first human study in February, assessing whether a mutant-specific PI3Kα inhibitor could limit off-target collateral damage while improving efficacy. The two-part phase 1 study is testing OKI-219 as both a monotherapy and as a combo with either Faslodex or Herceptin, and is set to recruit about 150 patients out of a cancer center in Virginia. 

OnKure’s two preclinical assets are also targeting P13Ka and breast cancer, with a next-gen inhibitor focused on the H1047X mutation and another tackling both E542K and E545K mutations. 

Others are also looking to stake their claim to mutant forms of PI3Kα, including Relay Therapeutics, which is working on a pan-selective inhibitor. Scorpion Therapeutics has its own small molecule, mutant-selective blocker in the works that's likewise in a phase 1 study while Eli Lilly has a PI3Kα inhibitor in the clinic as well, looking to enroll some 400 patients.