Turnstone Biologics turns fortunes around with $80M IPO haul

Turnstone Biologics has brought in $80 million from its IPO in some welcome good news for a biotech looking to escape the shadow of abandoned Big Pharma partnerships.

The final $12 share price came in at the lower end of the $12 to $14 estimate the biotech set out earlier this week. But as the company prepared to make its Nasdaq debut Friday morning, Turnstone confirmed that the upsized offering saw it sell 6.6 million shares of common stock, above its original expectation of 5.8 million.

The biotech still has an opportunity to boost its coffers further thanks to a 30-day option for underwriters to grab an additional 1 million shares at the same offering price.

The San Diego-based company has already set out how it plans to use the money to fund phase 1 work on its lead asset TIDAL-01 for breast and colorectal cancers as well as move another tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte into the clinic and run combination trials with viral immunotherapies.

That same IPO paperwork shed more light on the end of Turnstone’s deal with AbbVie, which paid $90 million to work with the biotech in 2017 but terminated the partnership in 2021. A separate $80 million upfront development deal with Takeda only lasted until 2022 with a remaining discovery pact with the Japanese Big Pharma ending in 2023.

As these partnerships fell apart, Turnstone initiated layoffs in the fall of 2022 and subleased its space in New York to consolidate operations at its headquarters in San Diego.

Against that grim backdrop, Turnstone’s IPO is a reminder that biotech listings are beginning to bubble back up after a quiet 2022. It comes just a week after Paragon spinout Apogee Therapeutics and Sagimet Biosciences both landed on the Nasdaq with offerings that overshot expectations. Turnstone sits closer to the more modest $85 million that Sagimet mustered for its own IPO as opposed to the hefty $300 million Apogee brought in.