Syros squeaks out with $50M IPO to get proof-of-concept data for ‘gene control’

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Syros Pharmaceuticals ($SYRS) aims to use small molecules to control the activation and repression of genes in cancer and immune-mediated diseases. It’s bringing a lead candidate into Phase II around the middle of this year, and now the company has raised $50 million in an IPO to get to that proof-of-concept data.

The Cambridge, MA-based company expects to have interim Phase II data in the middle of next year for lead candidate SY-1425 (tamibarotene) to treat relapsed or refractory acute myelogenous leukemia and relapsed high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome.

Undisclosed existing investors backed the IPO heavily, committing to kick in as much as $35 million to the IPO. Syros’ major investors include Flagship Ventures (19.4% post-IPO stake), ARCH Ventures (18.6%), Fidelity (9.3%), Deerfield Management (7.4%), Polaris (5.2%) and WuXi Pharmatech (4.7%).

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Despite that commitment, Syros still raised less than it had hoped for, and at a lower price than it wanted. Last week, it set terms to raise $60 million by selling 4 million shares at a price range of $14 to $16. To get the IPO done, it priced below the range at $12.50 per share but still held steady on the number of shares.

Syros is focused on creating small-molecule drugs to target the proteins responsible for gene expression, including transcription factors and transcriptional kinases and other proteins involved in transcriptional and regulatory processes.

Beyond its lead candidate, Syros also expects to get its next candidate, SY-1365 to treat acute leukemia, into the clinic with the IPO cash. That Phase I/II trial is slated to start in the first half of next year.

Since its inception in 2011, Syros has raised more than $122 million. At March 31, it had $62.1 million in cash with a net loss of about $30 million in 2015 and another of more than $10 million during the first quarter.

Syros was founded out of research from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

The company’s shares are slated to start trading on June 30. Syros is the second biotech IPO to brave the rocky markets to price in the U.S. this month; the prior one, for drug delivery player Selecta Biosciences ($SELB), is treading water right near its IPO price.

- here is the release
- and here is the latest S-1 filing

Special Report: FierceBiotech's 2015 Fierce 15 - Syros Pharmaceuticals

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