IPO year: 2013
Raised: $70.5 million
Share price: $15
Valuation: $237 million
Close July 29, 2016: $0.78
Change: Down 95%
Pfizer was an early partner of Bind Therapeutics, striking a deal with the fledgling biotech just months ahead of its 2013 Nasdaq debut. It is only fitting then that, four years later, Pfizer bought up Bind’s assets when it declared bankruptcy.
It was a long way to fall for the biotech, one of the many brainchildren of MIT’s Bob Langer that didn’t do quite as well as its siblings.
Then known as Bind Biosciences, the company secured a spot in the Fierce 15 Class of 2008 on the strength of its pedigree and venture backing as much as its technology. Polaris Partners—a regular backer of Langer ventures—invested in Bind’s seed round alongside Flagship Ventures. NanoDimension and ARCH Venture Partners joined the duo in a $16 million series B in late 2007.
That cash was to bankroll its nanotech platform, called Accurins, through proof of concept. The idea was to improve drug delivery using nanoparticles, creating targeted and programmable treatments to fight cancer. The approach was built for partnering with drugmakers that spied an opportunity to further develop proven drugs, while allowing Bind to work on its own programs.
In January 2013, Amgen signed on as Bind’s first partner in a deal worth up to $180.5 million. Pfizer came along three months later, and Roche and Merck followed in 2014.
Along the way, Bind raised $70.5 million in its IPO, pricing in the middle of the range at $15 per share. At the time, its lead program, a nanotech formulation of the chemo drug docetaxel, had just entered midstage development in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer. But the honeymoon didn’t last long: After lackluster results, Amgen walked away from the deal, knocking 10% off Bind’s stock price.
In 2016, Bind’s fortunes took a turn for the worse. Its lead asset, BIND-014, put up mixed data in a pair of trials testing it in NSCLC and in cervical and head and neck cancers. Though the treatment did OK in the lung cancer trial—logging a 52.5% disease control rate over six weeks—it flopped in the second trial. It shrank no tumors in patients with cervical cancer and did so in only 10% of those with head and neck cancer. Bind halted the second study.
Though it chalked up the lung cancer data as a success, it sought a Big Pharma partner to push that program forward because it simply didn’t have enough cash, despite announcing it would cut 38% of its workforce, leaving only 61 staffers. Ideally, Bind’s next step would be a combination trial with an immuno-oncology partner, CEO Andrew Hirsch told FierceBiotech at the time.
"The reason I think this will work is because there are data to suggest that dosing these drugs with chemotherapy enhances the body's immune system's ability to find and attack cancerous cells,” Hirsch said. “But at the same time this can impact the immune system, something that can damage cancer patients, so we think that with our better safety profile, we're well placed to work within that therapy."
That I-O deal never materialized, and Bind found itself seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while it figured out what to do next. A major licensing deal was still on the table for Bind, as was selling the company or some of its assets.
Pfizer, its early partner, came knocking in July with a $20 million stalking horse offer. An auction later that month pushed the Big Pharma’s bid to $40 million. And with around $13 million of that sale going to its increasingly impatient lender Hercules Technology, it’s not clear how much—if anything—ended up in the pockets of Bind shareholders. This one was definitely a loser.