Lexeo and Abivax Brave the IPO Waters on Nasdaq Amidst a Desert of Opportunities

In a dynamic move toward growth and innovation, genetic medicines biotech Lexeo Therapeutics and immune-focused French firm Abivax have taken the exciting step of filing for their initial public offerings (IPOs). While the specific fundraising goals were kept under wraps in their SEC filings, both companies are poised to make waves in the healthcare sector.

Lexeo has set its sights on utilizing the IPO proceeds to propel the development of its three flagship programs. Among them is LX2006, a promising candidate currently undergoing Phase I/II trials for Friedrich’s ataxia cardiomyopathy. In addition, they are advancing their lead candidate, LX1001, in Phase I/II studies for Alzheimer’s disease, alongside their arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy contender, LX2020.

The world can expect significant milestones from all three investigational gene therapies in 2024. Lexeo, a company that took flight in January 2021 with a substantial $85 million Series A funding round, followed by an impressive $100 million Series B in September of the same year, is set to trade on Nasdaq under the ticker $LXEO.

Meanwhile, Abivax is ready to deploy its IPO proceeds to propel their investigational oral drug, obefazimod, forward in the battle against ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These funds will also fortify the company’s overall operations and serve as vital working capital.

Abivax brings a unique approach to the table, with obefazimod targeting these inflammatory bowel diseases through the specific enhancement of the micro-RNA miR-124, a linchpin in the inflammatory response. This mechanism allows obefazimod to simultaneously modulate multiple inflammatory pathways, potentially paving the way for more enduring effects.

The drug is currently undergoing pivotal Phase III studies in ulcerative colitis, with data expected to emerge starting in 2025. Additionally, a Phase II study in Crohn’s disease is slated to kick off early next year.

These IPOs are a beacon of hope in a year marked by a slowdown in the number of companies going public. In 2021, the biopharma industry witnessed a surge of interest, with over 150 companies embarking on IPO journeys, amassing a staggering $25 billion in total. However, 2023 has presented a different landscape, with just about 20 IPOs on the horizon, and only 12 completed thus far.

According to David Diamond, a managing director at business consulting firm CBIZ MHM, investors are showing a clear preference for companies that can substantiate the effectiveness of their assets, often seeking data from Phase II or even later-stage trials.

Among the notable companies that have taken the IPO plunge this year are Acelyrin, securing an impressive $540 million to advance its lead asset, izokibep, which was in Phase IIb/III studies at the time of the IPO announcement, targeting conditions like hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), and uveitis.

Not to be outdone, California-based RayzeBio is also on the IPO radar, with plans to fuel the development of its radiotherapeutic pipeline, including the Phase III candidate RYZ101 for gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, promising further excitement in the biopharma arena.

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