Third Harmonic Bio joins the public markets with a $183.3 million IPO this is a stark departure in the context of almost no new equity offerings in 2022. Record inflation, rising interest rates and recession fears have cooled public financing activity in the year to date.
Third Harmonic not only sold shares, but also managed to increase the size of the deal. On Wednesday night, the biotech offered 10.9 million shares at $17 each, which was the middle of the target price range. When the company certain financial conditions for its IPO last week it aimed to sell 9 million shares. Shares of Third Harmonic are scheduled to begin trading Thursday on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “THRD.”
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts Third Harmonic is an inflammation and allergy biotech whose core asset, licensed from Novartis, has potential applications under several conditions. The small molecule, THB001, is designed to block KIT, a receptor that regulates mast cells, a type of immune cell. Fat cells play a role in many inflammatory conditions, and blocking it has shown efficacy in some diseases, such as asthma. With the ability to selectively block KIT compared to other small-molecule drugs, THB001 may avoid off-target effects, the company said in its IPO filing.
So far, Third Harmonic has generated encouraging early Phase 1 data for its small molecule. Its leading disease target is chronic urticaria, an inflammatory skin disease that results in hives. Third Harmonic’s effort to block KIT follows a drug from Celldex Therapeutics. Celldex’s drug, barzolvolimab, is in early clinical development for urticaria and other inflammatory diseases. But as an antibody, the drug Celldex is administered as an intravenous infusion. Third Harmonic’s drug formulation as a more convenient oral pill should give it a dosing advantage.
With the IPO money, Third Harmonic plans to proceed with multiple clinical trials testing its drug candidate. Between $80 million and $90 million is earmarked to continue the clinical development of THB001 in urticaria by completing a Phase 1b study and initiating a Phase 2 study, according to the IPO filing. The company expects to report initial data from the Phase 1b study in the first half of 2023. Applications to initiate Phase 2 trials in the US and Europe are expected in the first half of 2024.
Another $30 million to $40 million of the IPO cash is planned for clinical development of the drug in other indications, including completion of a phase 1b trial in asthma. Preliminary data from the asthma study are expected in the second half of 2024, according to the filing.
As of the end of the second quarter of this year, Third Harmonic reported having $112.7 million in cash and cash equivalents. The biotech projects that its cash reserves plus IPO funds will support operations through 2025.
Here’s some other stock market news this week for biotech companies:
No IPO for Elisio
Cancer immunotherapy developer Elicio Therapeutics is withdrawal the planned IPO. The Boston-based biotech initially filed for an initial public offering in 2021, when financial conditions were more favorable for a stock offering. In a Sept. 13 letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Elicio did not give a reason for the withdrawal, other than to say it does not plan to continue the stock offering at this time.
Elisio left the door open for a future IPO by asking the committee to credit fees paid so far for future use. The company’s lead drug candidate, ELI-002, is in Phase 1/2 testing as a potential treatment for cancers characterized by a KRAS mutation.
Know Labs stock finds a new home
Shares of medical diagnostics technology company Know Labs, which were previously traded over the counter, were down uplisted on the NYSE American Exchange. These shares are due to start trading on Friday under a new ticker symbol: “KNW”.
Seattle-based Know Labs says its technology directs electromagnetic energy through a substance or material to capture a unique molecular signature. The company used this “Bio-RFID” technology to develop a non-invasive glucose monitor that provides users with real-time information about their blood sugar.
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