Pfenex Inc., a spinoff of Dow Chemical Co., is the latest San Diego biotech to file for an initial public offering, looking to raise $74.8 million to fund its development of biosimilars.
The company, which employs 25 and was founded in 2009, plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol “PFNX.”
Biosimilars are essentially the generic versions of a class of drugs called biologics, which are medicines derived from biological as opposed to chemical sources. Pfenex’s biosimilars resemble macular degeneration drug Lucentis, which is marketed by F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd. and Novartis AG and achieved 2013 sales of about $4.3 billion.
Pfenex is currently conducting Phase 1b/2a trials of its drug candidate, PF582, in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration, a disease of the eye that causes loss of vision. It expects to enter phase 3 trials in mid-2015.
The company’s next most product candidate, PF530, is similar to Bayer AG’s Betaseron, which treats multiple sclerosis. Betaseron sales topped $1.4 billion in 2013 globally.
Pfenex has five other biosimilar candidates in development. It is also developing a vaccine for anthrax.