In what has been described as one of the slowest, closed-window public markets in recent years, Acelyrin Inc. priced an upsized IPO, raising $540 million, the fifth highest amount for a U.S. IPO by a traditional biopharma company to date. Despite industry IPOs raising only $628 million throughout the first four months of 2023 – the lowest amount in 10 years, Acelyrin’s IPO suggests that there is still a strong investor appetite ready and waiting for innovative technologies with solid data. The company priced 30 million shares at $18 apiece and is offering an overallotment option for 4.5 million shares that could bring it another $81 million. The IPO falls into the same upper class, among U.S. IPOs, as Sana Biotechnology Inc., Moderna Inc., Genmab A/S and Abcellera Biologics Inc., all of which raised upward of $550 million within the last five years.

Kinoxis and Boehringer Ingelheim to develop oxytocin-targeting treatments for social dysfunction in $181M deal

University of Sydney spinout Kinoxis Therapeutics Pty announced a partnership and licensing agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH to develop first-in-class oxytocin-targeting precision psychiatry treatments to improve the quality of life of people living with neuropsychiatric disorders. Under the terms of the agreement, Kinoxis will receive an up-front payment and research support payments and is eligible for research, preclinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones of up to AU$266 million (US$181 million), in addition to sales-based royalties. Through the partnership, the companies aim to unlock the therapeutic potential of targeting the brain oxytocin system to treat disrupted social behavior, which is also a barrier to psychosocial interventions that can be critical to help people living with chronic and complex mental health conditions.

Lawmakers look to future pandemics while COVID challenges remain

With the COVID-19 public health emergency ending in the U.S. next week, Congress is looking to use the lessons learned from the pandemic to draft a new iteration of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) to ensure the country is better prepared for the next pandemic. “We were very, very unprepared for what hit us three years ago,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said as he opened a May 4 hearing on reauthorizing PAHPA, which expires Sept. 30. Next time, he said, the U.S. must be ready. But while Congress is looking ahead to next time, the FDA, CDC and other agencies are still struggling to meet the current challenges of COVID-19, as the viral infection remains a leading cause of death in the country. Those challenges will be exacerbated with the ending of the temporary authorities granted under the PHE, public health officials told the committee.

Fibrogen’s roxadustat for MDS anemia falls at phase III efficacy hurdle

Fibrogen Inc. and its co-development partners for roxadustat, Astrazeneca plc and Astellas Pharma Inc., were dealt a major blow May 5 as the oral hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor failed to meet its primary efficacy endpoint in a phase III trial in patients with anemia caused by transfusion-dependent lower-risk myelodysplastic syndromes. Among 140 patients in the double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Matterhorn, more patients (47.5%) achieved independence from their red blood cell transfusions in the first 28 weeks than those on placebo (33.3%), but it wasn’t enough (p=0.217).

LSX World Congress: US Inflation Reduction Act to have global implications for biopharma

The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act may look like domestic affair, but the drug price controls it is bringing in are set to impact the biopharma sector across the globe. “Much of the entire ecosystem that we depend on is inextricably linked to U.S. pricing,” said Cody Powers, principal, portfolio and pipeline at the consultancy ZS Associates. “Without that price, a lot of the investment dynamics would dramatically change in the industry […]. We are looking at this not from a U.S. basis, but from a global basis, as much of the ecosystem essentially is built around that variable,” he told delegates at the LSX conference in London.

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