Centessa has reportedly announced plans for a $100m US initial public offering. This is coming weeks after the company launched with $250m in a private backing and an R&D powerhouse driven by the merger of 10 biotech firms. The company stated in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the proceeds will be used in funding the development of the 16 drugs it currently has lined up as well as the acquisition other companies. While the company currently has no agreements in place for the acquisition of any companies or license in any drugs, Centessa has showed interest in exploring such opportunities if they arise. The raised funds could also go into further acquisitions and for working capital and general corporate purposes.
“Although we have no material agreements, commitments or understandings with respect to any in-license or acquisition, we have and plan to continue to evaluate such opportunities and engage in related discussions with other business entities from time to time,” the IPO filing stated.
The IPO will also be used for funding a pivotal phase 3 trial of the rare kidney disease drug, lixivaptan, as well as a phase 3 safety study, and a phase 2 trial of the cancer drug, imgatuzumab, as stated in the filing.
Centessa is led by CEO Saurabh Saha, an experienced professional and the former head of translational medicine at Bristol-Myers Squibb and is the brainchild of chairman, the biotech investor Francesco de Rubertis. Centessa boasts of an “asset focused” R&D philosophy, primarily charged with catering to the needs of each individual biotech.
Almost all of the 10 biotechs had only one drug in the pipeline before entering into a deal with Centessa. Francesco de Rubertis has expressed his confidence about any one of them being the centrepiece of R&D for a big pharma company. However, it is only a matter of time for de Rubertis’ bold claims to lead to marketable drugs and only four of them are in the clinic.
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