Agios Pharma sets terms for closely watched biotech IPO

Agios Pharmaceuticals has advanced down the IPO pipeline. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech company has proposed a price range of $14 to $16 per share in an initial public offering of 5 million shares, according to an SEC filing. The 2009 Fierce 15 company would raise $75 million at the middle of the proposed range.

Agios, which plans to trade under the symbol "AGIO," expects to grant underwriters of the IPO an overallotment of up to 750,000 shares.

After a string of successful IPOs from its industry peers, Agios' proposed deal could be a slam dunk. While Agios has yet to enter clinical trials with any of its compounds against hot cancer metabolism targets, the startup boasts a marquee partnership with the biopharma powerhouse Celgene ($CELG), which has also agreed to invest $12.75 million in Agios concurrent with the public debut at the IPO price.

Agios also aims to develop personalized remedies, which have been among the hottest assets during the mighty return of biotech IPOs this year, when more than 20 life sciences companies have pulled off the deals. Agios features a lineup of targeted drugs for cancer and genetic metabolic diseases, with company CEO Dr. David Schenkein pledging to pair each of the molecular medicines with a diagnostic test to identify likely responders.

Dr. David Schenkein

Schenkein, a former Genentech executive, was among a group of industry experts who helped steer the creation of the FDA's "Breakthrough Therapy" designation. In mid-2013, Agios aims to enter the clinic with its lead drug, AG-221, in cancer patients who test positive for IDH2 mutations. The CEO seeks early evidence of efficacy that could put the program in the FDA's high-speed lane for development and reviews, he told FierceBiotech prior to the company announcing plans for the IPO.

Epizyme ($EPZM), which has skyrocketed in value since its recent public debut, pitched investors on a similar strategy to embark on rapid development of targeted cancer drugs. The Cambridge, MA-based company's shares have more than doubled in value from the $15 IPO price, and Agios would do well to draw comparisons with the high-flier in the days leading up to its offering.

- here's the SEC filing

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