Recursion Pharmaceuticals Inc. priced its IPO at a level that, with anticipated gross proceeds of $436.4 million, would make it 2021’s second largest biopharma IPO and the eighth largest ever.
Salt Lake City-based Recursion’s shares (NASDAQ:RXRX) were priced at $18 each when the market opened and closed April 16’s trading 73.89% higher at $31.30 each.
Only Sana Biotechnology Inc., of Seattle, is out front of Recursion in 2021 with a $675.6 million IPO in February.
Recursion, which is advancing lead programs in rare disease and oncology, said it plans to use net proceeds to fund R&D and for designing and conducting clinical trials. It has programs targeting diseases that include familial adenomatous polyposis, GM2 gangliosidosis, neurofibromatosis, neurofibromatosis type 2, cerebral cavernous malformation and Clostridium difficile colitis. Using its platform, the company collaborates with other companies to explore disease domains that include fibrosis, neuroscience, oncology, immunology and inflammation to identify therapeutic candidates.
Last year was a fast-paced one for the digital biology firm, with August being an especially busy month. That’s when it began a collaboration with Bayer AG to initiate about 10 discovery projects in five years to identify therapeutics to treat fibrotic diseases across multiple organ systems, including the lung, liver and heart.
Also in August, the Salt Lake City-based trade group BioUtah applauded the launch a life science incubator founded by Recursion and the University of Utah, Altitude Lab. The group said the incubator will accelerate innovators and early stage companies in the region.
Recursion also released a preprint in August on applying deep-learning-driven analysis of cellular morphology to develop a scalable phenomics platform. In proof-of-concept studies, Recursion applied elements of its deep-learning-enabled phenomics platform to functionally map a network of cellular immunity, employing a panel of immune stimuli across key cellular contexts.
In July, Recursion acquired Vium, a digital vivarium company with a platform combining computer vision, machine learning and sensor technology to non-invasively collect and derive insights from digital biomarkers in preclinical in vivo research. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Recursion closed on a $121 million series C funding round in July 2019. The company was founded in 2013. While its work typically starts with a fairly traditional approach to drug discovery, phenotypic screening, it then layers on some of the most transformative elements of modern computing, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, in an effort to yield deeper insights than phenotypic screening alone. The company models thousands of diseases in human cells, capturing about 2 million new fluorescent micrograph images every week across about 90,000 different mini-experiments, a process by which it is building one of the world's largest biological image datasets.
Biomea and Akoya price, too
Other newly launched IPOs include Biomea Fusion Inc., with shares (NASDAQ:BMEA) closing April 16’s trading 9.41% higher at $18.60, and Akoya Biosciences Inc., whose shares (NASDAQ:AKYA) closed 30.25% higher at $26.05.
Redwood City, Calif.-based Biomea priced 9 million shares at $17 each as it anticipates gross proceeds of $153 million to discover, develop and commercialize irreversible small-molecule drugs, synthetic compounds that form permanent bonds to a target protein, for treating genetically defined cancers. Its lead candidate, BMF-219, is oral, selective and irreversible inhibitor of menin, a transcriptional regulator thought to play a role in oncogenic signaling in multiple cancers.
In January, Biomea said it closed a $56 million series A financing to help bring the irreversible menin inhibitor into the clinic in a variety of tumor types. The company said it would continue preclinical work in two additional irreversible programs and advance them into IND-enabling studies and said it planned to expand its core research team to enhance preclinical and clinical capabilities.
Marlborough, Mass.-based Akoya is working to develop and deliver spatially derived biomarkers for researchers to use in understanding and treating diseases. Spatial biology refers to a technology enabling academic and biopharma scientists to detect and map the distribution of cell types and biomarkers across whole tissue samples at single cell resolution, enabling advancements in their understanding of disease progression and patient response to therapy.
Akoya priced 6.58 million shares at $20 each in anticipation of $131.6 million in gross proceeds, which it plans to use for expanding its commercial operations and to fund R&D.