Denmark’s Genmab raises a bumper $500m-plus in Nasdaq IPO

Genmab has shattered recent records with its Nasdaq listing, raising $506 million to help it advance multiple antibody projects, including in-house candidates.

The company, notable for its collaboration with Johnson & Johnson that yielded blockbuster multiple myeloma therapy Darzalex (daratumumab), is already listed on the Copenhagen stock exchange.

Like other, larger European biotechs it hopes a dual listing will help it to unlock access to US investors, and give it the resources to launch its own products.

Aside from Darzalex, Genmab has also developed Arzerra (ofatumumab) with Novartis for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, and also has partnerships with Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, ADC Therapeutics, Seattle Genetics and Immatics at various stages of development. It has been working on a follow-up to Darzalex for which J&J recently took up an option.

Around $100 million of the proceeds from the transaction is earmarked to being Seattle Genetics-partnered antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) tisotumab vedotin – currently in mid-stage trials as a treatment for advanced cervical cancer – through late-stage clinical development and to the market, according to the initial public offering (IPO) prospectus.

Tisotumab vedotin targets tissue factor (TF), a protein involved in malignant cell signalling and the growth of blood vessels that feed tumours.

Phase 2 results reported earlier this year showed a 35% response rate as well as a progression-free survival (PFS) of 4.1 months in patients with metastatic or recurrent cervical cancer, results that the investigators said compare favourably to Merck & Co/MSD’s checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in this population.

Another $275 million will go towards earlier-stage clinical and preclinical programmes, including wholly-owned ADC enapotamab vedotin which it is developing for various solid tumours in early- to mid-stage trials.  

Two other in-house oncology drugs are in line for a slice of the new funding – namely an antibody called HexaBody-DR5/DR5 for solid tumours and a bispecific antibody for B-cell malignancies called DuoBody-CD3xCD20 – which are both in phase 1/2 testing.

Some will also go towards an­oth­er bis­pe­cif­ic an­ti­body – Duo­Body-PD-L1x4-1BB – which is being developed alongside BioN­Tech as a cancer immunotherapy and preclinical-stage candidates DuoBody-CD40x4-1BB and DuoHexaBody-CD37.

There have been two other IPOs on the Nasdaq this week as well. Mirum Pharmaceuticals raised $75 million to help fund development of its cholestatic liver disease drugs headed by former Shire drug maralixibat, in a phase 3 trial for progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC).

Meanwhile, Fulcrum Therapeutics raised $72 million for its rare genetic disease candidates, based on a technology that allows genes to be switched on or off. Fulcrum’s lead compound, losmapimod, will shortly start a phase 2b trial in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). It was originally developed by GlaxoSmithKline.

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