Metagenomi prices IPO and NeOnc joins list of hopefuls

Metagenomi prices IPO and NeOnc joins list of hopefuls

Gene editing start-up Metagenomi and cancer specialist NeOnc Technologies have announced the terms of their initial public offerings, in another sign that investor interest in biotech is growing.

Emeryville, California-based Metagenomi aims to raise around $87 million through the offer of 6.25 million shares, priced between $15 and $17 each, which would value the company at around $640 million if completed. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under the MGX ticker.

The IPO is somewhat unusual in the current biotech IPO climate in that Metagenomi is a preclinical-stage company, while most other companies that have completed a public listing of late have had candidates at or approaching late-stage clinical development.

The specialist in genetic medicines is working on a toolbox of gene editing systems that it claims can accurately edit DNA where current technologies cannot, with a pipeline of in vivo and ex vivo candidates across a wide range of diseases, including haemophilia A, primary hyperoxaluria type 1, transthyretin amyloidosis, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

Its platform has attracted partnerships with Ionis, Moderna, and Affini-T, and last year it completed an impressive $275 million Series B financing that included backing from Novo Holdings.

The proceeds of the IPO, if completed, will go towards taking its pipeline of therapies through preclinical proof-of-concept, development of its gene editing platform, initial clinical studies, and building manufacturing capabilities.

NeOnc, meanwhile, has said it plans to raise $75 million by offering 3.8 million shares at a price range of $18.75 to $20.75, which could give it a value of $466 million. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the NTHI symbol.

The company, which is based in Westlake Village, California, has two lead products in development, both aimed at the treatment of primary and secondary cancers within the brain.

NEO100 is a purified form of perillyl acid administered via intranasal delivery that is in phase 2a testing in recurrent malignant glioma and meningioma, while NEO122 is a conjugate of perillyl acid and temozolomide being prepared for a phase 1/2 trial.

NEO100 is also being explored as a way to improve the delivery of other drugs targeting the central nervous system, with plans to use it to deliver levodopa for Parkinson’s disease treatment.

NeOnc says in its IPO prospectus that it plans to use around a third of proceeds to fund its clinical trials, with the remainder earmarked for early-stage R&D, repaying a business loan provided mainly by its key officers and directors, and general corporate purposes.

Other companies joining the IPO throng include Alto Neuroscience and Fractyl Health, which both completed listings late last week, raising around $129 million and $110 million, respectively.

Alto’s lead candidate is BDNF inhibitor ALTO-100, in phase 2 for major depressive disorder (MDD), while Fractyl is developing an endoscope-based hydrothermal ablation therapy, designed to remodel the lining of the duodenum and restore metabolic balance. It is in a pivotal trial in insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes patients, with results due later this year.

Earlier this year, CG Oncology and ArriVent Biopharma completed IPOs, raising $380 million and $175 million, respectively.

After a record high of 89 IPOs in the life sciences sector in 2021 - amid the pandemic - the number plummeted to 19 in 2022 and just 16 last year, according to a report (PDF) published earlier this month by the University of Florida.