Tracon eyes a $57.5M IPO to get its cancer drug into Phase III

San Diego biotech Tracon is lining up for a $57.5 million IPO to bankroll an ambitious program for its lead cancer drug, with major shareholder New Enterprise Associates lighting the way.

The company hopes to land on the Nasdaq under "TCON," raising funds to support the Phase II development of an oncology treatment called TRC105. The drug is an antibody that blocks endoglin, essential to the formation of new blood cells, thereby starving tumors and killing cancer. Combinations of TRC105 and the approved Votrient, Inlyta, Avastin and Nexavar are now in the midst of midstage studies against soft tissue sarcoma, renal cell carcinoma, glioblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma, Tracon said, with data expected throughout this year and the next.

The plan is to determine out TRC105's most promising applications and launch one or more Phase III trials by the end of 2016, the company said, later following up with studies to test the drug's mettle against cancers with larger patient populations. In total, Tracon and its partners at the National Cancer Institute and the University of Alabama planning to run 7 trials on the drug through next year.

Beyond TRC105, Tracon is at work on TRC102 in three Phase I trials targeting solid tumors, plus the fibrotic disease-treating TRC205, now in preclinical development.

NEA got involved in September, pitching in on Tracon's $27 million B round and getting partner Paul Walker on the biotech's board. JAFCO is Tracon's largest investor, joined by BioMed Ventures, Nextech Invest, Brookline Investments, Arcus Ventures and BHP.

- read the filing