- Two U.S. biotechs, Gemphire Therapeutics and Phase Rx, are moving forward with IPOs, despite challenging market conditions. Within the last week, three biotech other companies—GenSight, Bavarian Nordic and BioCardia—canceled their IPOs.
- Gemphire Therapeutics, which will trade as GEMP, plans to issue $60 million in stock. The MI-based company is in late stage trials for a drug intended to help clear very low density lipoproteins, a bad type of cholesterol, for the treatment of dyslipidemia.
- PhaseRX, on the other hand, is seeking about $30 million in its IPO to fund R&D for its urea cycle disorder drugs, according to its filing with the SEC.
A year ago, the planned IPOs of Gemphire and PhaseRx would not have made as much news. But considering the tough start to the year for biotech stocks, along with the recent string of canceled IPOs, it is more of note.
Gemphire's licensed gemcabene from Pfizer, gaining worldwide commercialization rights in a 2011 deal. The drug has already been tested in 18 early to midstage clinical trials, according to FierceBiotech. If the company can make it to market, however, gemcabene will face significant competition from the large arsenal of statins already approved.
But, Gemphire sees continued unmet medical needs associated with hypercholesterolemia and believes gemcabene can help patients with dyslipidemia, a condition that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
PhaseRx, on the other hand, is developing a class of drugs known as intracellular enzyme replacement therapies (i-ERTs), which would represent a first-in-class treatment option for patients with urea cycle disorder if approved. Clinical trial results are expected in 2018.
Despite the three canceled IPOs, some biotechs have been successful so far this year, notably Editas Therapeutics and BeiGene.