La Jolla-based Inhibrx is prepping for a public debut.
Two weeks after raising $40 million, the company in early June filed for an initial public offering to advance three cancer drugs in clinical trials — and other preclinical programs, including an antibiotic.
Inhibrx, which plans to list shares on Nasdaq under the symbol “INBX,” wants to raise $74.75 million.
Protein engineering underlies the company’s approach, with three cancer drug candidates in phase 1 clinical trials, and two preclinical programs set to enter clinical trials later this year.
Slipping into biotech speak, Inhibrx pitched its sdAb platform as superior to current monoclonal antibody and fusion protein approaches.
“We combine a deep understanding of target biology with innovative protein engineering, proprietary discovery technologies, and an integrative approach to research and development to design highly differentiated therapeutic candidates,” states the IPO prospectus.
One of its drug candidates clinical trials, Inbrx-103, has been licensed to pharmaceutical Celgene. Another, Inbrx-109, is targeting gastrointestinal tumors and mesothelioma — tumors that line the lungs, stomach, heart and other organs.
The planned IPO follows a recent $40 million investment from Viking Global Investors. The $40 million would convert into shares of Inhibrx stock at 90 percent of the IPO share price, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission paperwork.
As part of the IPO, Italian drugmaker Chiesi Farmaceutici agreed to buy $10 million in shares of Inhibrx stock. The companies agreed to a larger pact in which Chiesi Farmaceutici could buy the rights to Inbrx-101 outside of North America.
Earlier this year, Inhibrx licensed its technology to help Bluebird Bio develop CAR-T products. This type of therapy engineers a patient’s T cells to fight cancer cells. In exchange, Inhibrx received a $7 million upfront payment.
CEO Mark Lappe co-founded Inhibrx in 2010. Previously he was the managing partner of Efficacy Biotech Fund.
As of March 31, before the Viking investment, Inhibrx had $6.2 million in cash. Most biotechs take years to reach profitability.
“Because of the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with biological product development, we are unable to accurately predict the timing or amount of increased expenses or when, or if, we will be able to achieve profitability,” states the IPO prospectus.
This year has already seen three biotechs go public in San Diego: Turning Point Therapeutics, Gossamer Bio and INmune Bio.
Cibus, which filed IPO paperwork late last year, recently canceled for unknown reasons.
Observers say 2018’s record amount of venture capital in San Diego life sciences laid the groundwork for a banner IPO year. Funding rounds can set the stage for an IPO.
San Diego-based biopharmaceuticals in 2018 raised a record high $2.41 billion in venture capital. The haul marked a jump from $632.2 million in 2017 and $520.03 million the prior year, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.