East Coast Biotech Roundup: Biogen, Civitas, Rhythm, Alkermes, & More
To get ready for the annual post-Labor Day market revival, three Boston-area biotechs have put their IPO plans on the front burner. Syndax Pharmaceuticals has come back to the table after postponing its plans earlier this year, while Rhythm Pharmaceuticals and Civitas have declared their intentions for the first time. In pipeline news, Alkermes has filed its FDA application for approval of a schizophrenia drug, and Merck and Pfizer are combining drugs in a Phase 1 cancer trial. Let’s get to the roundup.
—Civitas Therapeutics, a Chelsea, MA-based developer of inhalable drug-delivery tech, had a busy week. The company said it has raised $55 million in Series C funding from new investors Adage Capital Management, OrbiMed Advisors, Partner Fund Management, Rock Springs Capital, and Sofinnova Ventures, plus all of its previous investors, including Alkermes, Bay City Capital, Canaan Partners, and Longitude Capital. Civitas also filed its S-1 paperwork to go public. It could be a quick turnaround for the company, which was spun out of Alkermes in 2011 to make inhalable drugs for Parkinson’s disease.
—Rhythm Pharmaceuticals also has joined the lengthy biotech IPO queue. The Boston-based developer of drugs for gastrointestinal and metabolic diseases has filed its registration statement with the SEC and plans to trade on the NASDAQ. Rhythm was founded in 2008 and has raised more than $70 million from investors including MPM Capital, Third Rock Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Pfizer Ventures, and Ipsen. The company is focusing on treating diseases related to diabetes and obesity. Massachusetts has seen at least 14 life sciences IPOs so far this year.
—Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) of Cambridge, MA, has hired Donald Johns to lead its new ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Innovation Hub, the company said Tuesday. Johns came from Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, also in Cambridge, where he ran the pharma company’s neuroscience strategy. Johns will report to Biogen Idec’s chief medical officer Alfred Sandrock.