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A rare biotech IPO lands on Nasdaq, boosted by RA Capital and a former Eli Lilly drug –

An­oth­er biotech backed by RA Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment is mak­ing the Nas­daq jump Tues­day, brav­ing the cold bear mar­ket wa­ters.

Acrivon Ther­a­peu­tics priced its IPO at $12.50 a share, be­low the ex­pect­ed range of $16 to $18, rough­ly a year af­ter it put to­geth­er its last fi­nanc­ing round — and less than 18 months af­ter launch­ing out of stealth. In to­tal, the IPO brought the com­pa­ny just short of a nine-fig­ure raise, com­ing in at $99.4 mil­lion.

The of­fer­ing is ex­pect­ed to close Thurs­day, at which point the fi­nal raise to­tal could end up high­er or low­er than the $99.4 mil­lion fig­ure.

Un­like the en­vi­ron­ment in which Acrivon launched, when the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic fu­eled in­ter­est and hefty sums of VC cap­i­tal in­to the life sci­ences, the IPOs froze over in 2022. Though there have been a hand­ful of $100 mil­lion IPOs this year — if Acrivon sur­pass­es the thresh­old, it would be the eighth — it pales in com­par­i­son to 2021 when there were 62 such rais­es, per the End­points News tal­ly and da­ta from Deal­For­ma’s Chris Doko­ma­ji­lar.

Near­ly two-thirds of those com­pa­nies, or 40 out of 62, al­so com­plet­ed their IPO rais­es in the first half of 2021.

But that en­vi­ron­ment didn’t scare off Acrivon, which is go­ing pub­lic with an old Eli Lil­ly as­set as its lead com­pound. The pro­gram, for­mer­ly known as prex­as­ert­ib, was a top mid-stage drug for Lil­ly a few years ago but was swept out in the first quar­ter of 2019 af­ter it failed to make sig­nif­i­cant head­way. It spawned out of Lil­ly’s ef­forts to de­vel­op a CHK1/CHK2 drug for ovar­i­an can­cer.

In June 2021, Acrivon ex­changed eq­ui­ty for Lil­ly’s rights to the drug — now called ACR-368 — and is now pur­su­ing a slate of Phase II stud­ies. Al­most all of Tues­day’s IPO funds will go to­ward ad­vanc­ing this pro­gram in­to three in­di­ca­tions, with the rest fund­ing pre­clin­i­cal re­search, ac­cord­ing to the S-1.

The IPO raise is ex­pect­ed to push Acrivon’s run­way through “at least in­to the fourth quar­ter of 2024,” giv­ing it a two-year time­line to com­plete the Phase II tri­als be­fore need­ing more cash. Re­searchers plan to start test­ing the drug in pa­tients with plat­inum-re­sis­tant ovar­i­an, en­dome­tri­al and blad­der can­cer.

Per the SEC fil­ings, the biggest IPO win­ner is a firm called Chione Lim­it­ed, whose sole stock­hold­er, Wiaczes­law Smolokows­ki, is one of Poland’s wealth­i­est in­di­vid­u­als and has al­so pre­vi­ous­ly in­vest­ed in Karyopharm Ther­a­peu­tics. Chione will own about 18% af­ter the of­fer­ing clos­es, fol­lowed by RA at 7.5% and Per­cep­tive at 6.4%.

CEO Pe­ter Blume-Jensen and his wife, co-founder and EVP of busi­ness ops Kristi­na Mas­son, al­so col­lec­tive­ly own 7.3%. Once the biotech of­fi­cial­ly lands on Nas­daq, it will trade un­der the tick­er $ACRV.

Acrivon is just the third biotech in the last two months to go pub­lic. It fol­lows Third Har­mon­ic Bio, which priced at $185 mil­lion in Sep­tem­ber, and David Liu’s Prime Med­i­cine, which priced at $175 mil­lion in Oc­to­ber.

Read More: A rare biotech IPO lands on Nasdaq, boosted by RA Capital and a former Eli Lilly drug –

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