- Cancer drug startup Acrivon Therapeutics raised $99 million in an initial public offering it priced on Monday evening. The company’s shares will start trading Tuesday on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol ACRV.
- The offering makes Acrivon the 20th biotech to go public so far this year, roughly a fifth of last year’s total at this time, according to data from BioPharma Dive. Acrivon had to sell more shares at a lower price — and part with additional stock in a separate deal — to complete its IPO, which was originally scheduled for last week with different estimated terms.
- Still, the offering is the ninth-largest by proceeds this year and the third to raise about $100 million or more since September. Acrivon, which revealed its IPO plans in October, is testing a shelved Eli Lilly cancer drug in a Phase 2 clinical trial in ovarian, endometrial and bladder cancers.
Like a number of the other biotech startups to reach Wall Street this year, Acrivon is primarily focused on a single drug and getting it to market.
Its lead drug is prexasertib, a small molecule targeting a pair of enzymes called CHK1 and CHK2 that was discovered by Array BioPharma in the 2000s and later licensed by Lilly. The pharmaceutical firm shelved it after more than a dozen clinical trials.
Acrivon’s bet is that it can better identify patients who will respond to treatment. The company is working with Akoya Biosciences to develop a companion diagnostic test.
If Acrivon is successful, Lilly has a right of first negotiation to reacquire the drug, according to a regulatory filing.
Beyond prexasertib, Acrivon is testing two drugs in preclinical studies.
Regulatory filings show the company originally planned to offer 5.9 million shares priced between $16 and $18 apiece. After delaying its offering by a few days, the company sold 7,550,000 shares at $12.50 apiece. It also agreed to sell another 400,000 shares at the IPO price to its top shareholder, Chione Ltd., in a separate deal.
Acrivon previously raised roughly $120 million in private funding. Since its launch in 2021, it has secured Food and Drug Administration clearance to start a Phase 2 trial in patients with multiple tumor types, and expects results in the second half of 2023.
2022 has been a slow year for biotech IPOs. Acrivon is just the sixth company to price an offering since May, and the 20th this year, compared to 101 this time last year. Some are opting for alternative routes to go public or raise funds, wary of testing the markets during a downturn.
Most recently, Third Harmonic Bio and Prime Medicine each raised more than $100 million on Wall Street. Half of the newly public biotechs in 2022 priced IPOs of less than $40 million, according to BioPharma Dive data.
Intensity Therapeutics, another cancer drug startup, postponed an offering that had been expected to price last week.