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Bicycle Therapeutics looks to raise $86m with IPO

Key data readout expected later this year


UK biotech company Bicycle Therapeutics is to launch an IPO via the US Nasdaq exchange to raise $86.25m.

Based on the Babraham biotech campus just outside Cambridge, UK, (but with some key functions and leaders located in Boston, Mass) the firm is developing a range of therapies based on its proprietary 'bicycle' technology.

These bicycle (BTC) molecules are fully synthetic short peptides that aim to combine the pharmacology associated with biologics, with the manufacturing and pharmacokinetic properties of small molecules.

The company’s lead product candidate is BT1718, a ‘bicycle drug conjugate’ being developing for oncology indications. The molecule is made up of a MT1-MMP targeting Bicycle, a hindered disulphide cleavable linker and a cytotoxin payload of emtansine, or DM1.

MT1-MMP has an established role in cell invasion and metastasis, and could be a good target for cytotoxin delivery thanks to its high level of expression in various cancers, including breast, lung, sarcoma, gastric, bladder, endometrial, ovarian and oesophageal cancers.

BT1718 is currently in a phase 1/2a open label dose escalation and expansion trial sponsored by charity Cancer Research UK. Up to 40 patients with advanced solid tumours are being enrolled in the ongoing phase I part of this trial at three UK sites, in which two dosing regimens are being evaluated. Once a recommended phase 2a dose has been determined, the phase 2a part of the trial is expected to commence.

It expects phase 1/2a trial results for its lead candidate by the end of 2019, which should be one of the first true tests of the company’s science.

Kevin Lee

Chief executive Kevin Lee

Established in 2015, the company’s platform is based on the monoclonal antibodies science conducted by Sir Greg Winter and Professor Christian Heinis, and the company is headed by ex-Pfizer research leader Kevin Lee.

The company has research collaborations with AstraZeneca in respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic disease, Bioverativ in non-malignant haematology indications, including haemophilia and with Oxurion in ophthalmology.

The lead molecule of this partnership is THR-149, a novel plasma kallikrein inhibitor, for the treatment of diabetic macular oedema. Earlier this month the partners announced enrolment in the trial had been completed, with 15 patients enrolled.

The UK biotech sector has been thriving (despite Brexit) and has been less reliant on IPOs because it has been able to generate more capital from private investment; venture capital funding breaking through the £1bn mark for the first time in 2018.

Bicycle’s market flotation will be the first major IPO of 2019 for the UK biotech sector.

In November last year, gene therapy specialist Orchard Therapeutics raised over $200m, while CAR-T biotech Autolus generated $150m from its IPO in June.

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

1st May 2019

From: Marketing



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