5. Forma Therapeutics
Deal size: $278 million
Valuation: $784 million
Share price: $20.00
Shares sold: 15,964,704
The last 12 months have been major for Forma Therapeutics, which followed up a $100 million series D round from late 2019 by pulling off a major upsized $278 million IPO in the summer. But 2021 will prove to be a pivotal point in its path. The biotech, helmed by Genentech veteran Frank Lee, has been working on its transition from an early discovery and development company to one knocking on the door of approvals and commercialization.
Now, Forma is plotting a phase 2/3 trial of FT-4202, a potentially disease-modifying therapy for people living with sickle cell disease, and it will hope for a success and approval further down the road. It’s also working on several cancer assets, and in January, it kickstarted a phase 1 study for its prostate cancer drug FT-7051.
FT-4202 is, however, the main R&D priority, and it could become a therapy that changes the course of sickle cell disease rather than addressing symptoms such as infection, inflammation and anemia. The drug activates the enzyme pyruvate kinase-R, which combats the sickling of red blood cells and helps hemaglobin bind to and release oxygen more efficiently. Though sickle cell is its first indication, Forma may test it in other diseases.
To help with its next few years of pivotal R&D work, Forma also last year hired two life science veterans—former Incyte exec Fitzroy Dawkins, M.D., as vice president of clinical development, and ex-Takeda cancer leader Ruth du Moulin, Ph.D., as vice president of medical affairs—to help with its vision for the future.