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Fresh Off Boston Move, CoLucid Plots IPO For Migraine Drug Push

Xconomy Raleigh-Durham — 

CoLucid Pharmaceuticals has barely finished unpacking after relocating to Massachusetts last week, but it has already pulled one thing out of its moving boxes—a document outlining plans for an initial public offering.

According to CoLucid’s IPO prospectus, the company could raise up to $86 million. But that figure is just a placeholder. The details won’t be known until CoLucid sets a range and eventually prices its offering. Should it complete the IPO, CoLucid will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “CLCD.”

CoLucid had called Durham, NC, its home since Pappas Ventures, a venture capital firm also headquartered in Durham, formed the company in 2005. But last week, CoLucid announced a move to Burlington, MA, while it looks for office space in biotech-heavy Cambridge. In announcing the move, the company cited the recent addition of a Massachusetts-based executive to its management team. Matthew Dallas, former vice president of finance and treasurer of AVEO Oncology (NASDAQ: AVEO) joined CoLucid in February as the company’s CFO and treasurer. Thomas Mathers, CoLucid’s CEO since 2011, is the former chief executive of Somerville, MA, drug developer Peptimmune.

CoLucid aims to use the IPO cash to fund late-stage clinical trials for a drug it’s developing for migraines, a condition that affects about 36 million Americans, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. For the last 20 years, the standard treatment for migraines has been drugs called triptans, which work by constricting blood vessels. These drugs, however, have been associated with various side effects, like neck or chest tightness and a rapid heart rate. Because of these side effects, triptans are not recommended for patients who have heart problems.

CoLucid is trying a different approach. Its drug, lasmiditan, comes from a new drug class called ditans, and targets a receptor in the trigeminal nerve that is responsible for sensations in the face. The company aims to prove that its drug could be an alternative both for migraine patients who have cardiovascular problems, as well as those who don’t respond to triptan drugs. CoLucid has developed both a pill and an intravenous form of the drug. The intravenous form was developed to treat headache pain in patients who are in emergency rooms or other urgent care settings.

In January, CoLucid raised $37 million in a Series C round led by TVM Capital Life, along with new investors Novo Ventures (the investment arm of Novo Nordisk) and Auriga Partners. At that time, the company said that the financing would help pay for Phase 3 trials of the pill form of the drug. The company now says in the filing that this trial will begin enrolling patients in the second quarter. Initial results from the study are expected in the third quarter of 2016.

The company already has a “special protocol assessment” for the trial, which is an agreement with the Food and Drug Administration on the study design and how the data from the trial will be analyzed. These agreements are no guarantee of approval, but companies hope that they minimize the chance of an FDA rejection—as long as a drug they’re testing meets the agreed upon study goals. According to the filing, CoLucid also plans a second Phase 3 trial, this one for the IV form of the drug. The company expects to start that trial in the first half of 2016.

CoLucid originally licensed lasmiditan from Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) in 2005. If CoLucid’s drug is approved, Eli Lilly will get a $32 million payment, according to the filing. The Indiana pharma giant would get an additional $3 million for each subsequent indication lasmiditan is approved to treat, and royalties on sales of any approved products containing the drug. CoLucid’s patents on the drug extend through 2025.