Just a few recent examples of some big winners from the space include Allakos (ALLK 38.50, +1.72, +4.68%), Crinetics Pharmaceuticals (CRNX 28.82, +0.82, +2.93%), and AvroBio (AVRO 37.49, -1.48, -3.80%).
In contrast, today's biotech IPO, Vaccinex (VCNX 11.15, -0.85, -7.08%),did not see the same level of excitement for its IPO as it priced at the low end of expectations ($12 vs. $12-$15). It is a smaller deal compared to most other recent biotech or pharma IPOs at just 3.3 mln shares. Also, and more importantly, the company stated in its IPO prospectus that it will likely need more funding at the end of next year. Otherwise, it could cease to exist as a company.
In other words, the overall quality compared to other recent biotech IPOs doesn't appear to stack up favorably, and the risks look ever higher. That said, VCNX could still pop higher and make a run once it opens for trading on the Nasdaq.
Vaccinex (VCNX) is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing biotherapeutics to treat serious diseases and conditions such as cancer, neuro-degenerative diseases, and autoimmune disorders. The company is a leader in the field of "semaphorin 4D (SEMA4D) biology, and it is the only company targeting SEMA4D as a potential treatment for these diseases.
SEMA4D is an extra-cellular signaling molecule that regulates the migration of immune and inflammatory cells to sites of injury, cancer, and infection. The company’s lead product candidates are developed based on SEMA4D. VCNX says it has shown in preclinical studies that the biological activities associated with an antibody blockade of SEMA4D can promote immune cell infiltration into tumors and the repair or prevention of neurological damage in neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.
Its lead product candidate is VX15 for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), osteosarcoma, melanoma, and Huntington's disease. For NSCLC, osteosarcoma, and melanoma, it completed a Phase 1 clinical trial of VX15 monotherapy and released top-line data in October 2014. VX15 was well tolerated in this clinical trial and showed early evidence of immune mediated activity. In October 2017, in collaboration with Merck, it initiated a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial of VX15 in combination with avelumab, an inhibitor of the PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint pathway, in patients with NSCLC who have not previously been treated with immunotherapy.
This past June, an investigator-sponsored clinical trial of VX15, in combination with Yervoy (ipilimumab) and with Opdivo (nivolumab) began at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in patients with advanced melanoma who have progressed on prior anti-PD-1/PD-L1 based therapies.
As a pre-clinical company, the financials aren't overly relevant at this point. But, for the three months ended March 31, 2018, VCNX generated $206K in service revenue from its collaboration agreement with Merck and Surface Oncology. The company incurred an operating loss of ($5.7) mln for the period.
In terms of the balance sheet, VCNX believes the net proceeds from this offering, together with its existing cash and cash equivalents, will fund its projected operating requirements until the end of 2019.