GlycoMimetics, Karyopharm ride the wave of new biotech IPOs

Two more biotechs have jumped into the crowded IPO ring, hoping to raise substantial funds for their R&D work while investors remain keen on the potential rewards of drug development. Karyopharm is pitching an initial offering designed to raise $80 million just weeks after its venture backers boosted its Series B round to $67 million. And GlycoMimetics has its eyes set on an $86 million haul.

The new S-1s bring the biotech IPO queue to 9. So far this year 38 biotechs have gone public raising $2.8 billion. If all of these prospective offerings succeed--and the past few months have seen both big hits and a few weak debuts--the industry would be looking at a cumulative windfall of about $3.4 billion, with more offerings likely. The IPO harvest comes on top of what has been a good year for venture financing in biotech, though there have been signs that dealmaking has waned somewhat.

Complicating this picture: No one really knows how long this IPO roll will last before the inevitable reckoning.

Karyopharm is an early-stage company with plans to fast-track a Phase II/III program for its lead therapy, Selinexor--or KPT-330. The big idea at the Natick, MA-based company lies in its approach to trapping tumor suppressing proteins in the nucleus of cancer cells, assisting in their destruction. And investigators have gained some preliminary insights into the treatment's ability to do what it's designed to do. The biotech believes it can vault quickly into a Phase II/III study in the first half of next year.

Forsight Capital Management--which has a mix of public and private companies in its portfolio--led the latest venture investment, signaling that an IPO was on the way.

Gaithersburg, MD-based GlycoMimetics, though, has completed a mid-stage trial of its lead therapy, GMI-1070, which is aimed at rare cases of vaso-occlusive crisis, which is triggered by sickle cell disease. The biotech's expertise in carbohydrate chemistry earned a substantial pact with Pfizer in late 2011. In the S-1, GlycoMimetics revealed that Pfizer ($PFE) paid $22.5 million upfront to partner with the developer, promising $115 million in development milestones, $70 million in regulatory milestones and up to $135 million for hitting certain commercial goals.

- here's the S-1 for GlycoMimetics
- here's the S-1 for Karyopharm

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