MS and fibrosis drug developer Contineum files $150m IPO

Contineum Therapeutics

Contineum Therapeutics has become the latest biotech to file for an initial public offering (IPO) in the US, hoping to raise $150 million for its early clinical-stage candidate for progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

A prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) notes that Contineum has completed a phase 1 study of its lead in-house candidate PIPE-791 in healthy volunteers and hopes to start a phase 1b trial later this year.

The company’s other clinical-stage project is PIPE-307 for relapsing/remitting MS, which was partnered with Johnson & Johnson last year in a $1 billion-plus deal that included a $50 million upfront payment and is already in a phase 2 trial with results due in 2025.

PIPE-307 is an oral, selective antagonist of the muscarinic M1 receptor (M1R), while PIPE-791 is an orally-active brain-penetrating LPA1 receptor inhibitor.

Contineum was known as Pipeline Therapeutics until a name change last December, which reflected a change in its focus to neuroscience, inflammation, and immunology after an early regenerative medicine candidate for hearing loss fell by the wayside.

The company, which raised $80 million in a third-round financing in 2021, plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol CTNM. It has not disclosed pricing details for the IPO, but has a fundraising target of $150 million, according to Renaissance Capital.

Contineum’s prospectus indicates that it plans to file for approval to start an open-label trial that will look at PIPE-791’s ability to bind to receptors in the lung and brain with the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in 2024, in order to select suitable doses for further testing in MS and IPF.

It says that the compound’s “high bioavailability, low plasma protein binding, and long receptor residence time” could differentiate it from other LPA1 antagonists in clinical development.

Other companies with candidates in the clinic include Bristol-Myers Squibb, whose BMS-986278 has generated positive results in a phase 2 IPF study, earning it a breakthrough designation from the FDA, and is in the phase 3 ALOFT trial programme in progressive pulmonary fibrosis (PPF).

Contineum also said that, to its knowledge, PIPE-307 is the most advanced selective M1R antagonist in clinical development and has potential in depression as well as MS, and J&J has indicated it will start a phase 2 trial in the new indication later this year.

18 March, 2024