Blueprint Medicines of Cambridge, MA, is the latest biotech to raise more cash than expected in an IPO. The developer of experimental cancer therapies sold 8.15 million shares at $18 apiece Wednesday evening, bringing in nearly $147 million, according to research firm Renaissance Capital.
Last week, Blueprint projected it would sell 7.2 million shares at $15 to $17 apiece, about 28 percent lower than what the market has brought to bear today.
Blueprint will trade on the Nasdaq tomorrow under the ticker symbol “BPMC.”
Third Rock Ventures formed the company in 2008, settling on the Blueprint name in 2011. The firm joined with Fidelity Biosciences that year to pour a $40 million Series A into Blueprint. Both remain the company’s most significant shareholders: Third Rock held a 41.8 percent stake before the IPO, while Beacon Bioventures Fund III LP—a fund managed by Fidelity—owns 13.4 percent of the company. No other institutional shareholders hold more than 5 percent of Blueprint.
Blueprint wants to develop a kind of cancer drug called a kinase inhibitor, a popular product in the drug business, but Blueprint wants its kinase inhibitors to be more finely targeted to genetically defined patient groups. The idea comes from the scientific stars—Nick Lydon, Brian Druker, and Charles Sawyers—who helped discover and develop the landmark chronic myeloid leukemia drug imatinib (Gleevec), one of the first targeted cancer therapies. That’s apropos, given Blueprint is essentially trying to develop a portfolio of Gleevecs through its discovery approach.
The firm is using high-speed DNA sequencing instruments to test a homemade library of chemicals against kinases, which are a family of hundreds of enzymes that can go awry in cancer. The idea is to find new genetic drivers of cancer—rare mutations of a certain kind of kinase, for example—then quickly test how the chemicals in its library fare against them. Blueprint would then develop the promising compounds into therapies that block specific kinases—and thus treat only small subsets of patients—while avoiding others.
Blueprint has a long way to go, however; it has yet to begin its first clinical trial. Its first studies, for drug candidates BLU-285 and BLU-554, are expected to get underway in mid-2015. BLU-285 targets the D816v mutation of the c-Kit gene, which plays a role in certain gastrointestinal tumors and in systemic mastocytosis, an abnormal buildup of mast cells, which normally help protect the body from disease.
BLU-554 targets what’s known as fibroblast growth receptor 4 (FGFR4), which is implicated in a subset of patients with liver cancer. The company also is working on a third preclinical cancer drug and a program for an undisclosed rare genetic disease that is part of a $265 million pact with Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALXN). Blueprint cut that Alexion deal, its first pharma partnership, just weeks before filing its IPO prospectus in March.
Blueprint expects the IPO cash and the $15 million upfront payment from Alexion to fund the two coming Phase 1 trials support the company through at least the end of next year.
Former Algeta executive Jeffrey Albers is Blueprint’s CEO.
Goldman Sachs, Cowen and Co., JMP Securities, and Wedbush Securities are Blueprint’s underwriters.