Rhythm Pharmaceuticals Files for IPO

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Rhythm Pharmaceuticals has filed an S-1 form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding its initial public offering (IPO). No pricing details were provided in the filing, but the offering is valued up to $115 million, although this number is usually just a placeholder. The company intends to list its shares on the Nasdaq under the symbol RYTM.

The underwriters for the offering are Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Cowen and Needham.

This biopharmaceutical company is focused on the development and commercialization of peptide therapeutics for the treatment of rare genetic deficiencies that result in life-threatening metabolic disorders.

Its lead peptide product candidate is setmelanotide, a potent, first-in-class melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R), agonist for the treatment of rare genetic disorders of obesity. Management believes setmelanotide, for which it has exclusive worldwide rights, has the potential to serve as replacement therapy for the treatment of melanocortin-4 (MC4) pathway deficiencies. MC4 pathway deficiencies result in the disruption of satiety signals and energy homeostasis in the body, which, in turn, leads to intense feelings of hunger and to obesity.

The firm’s development efforts are initially focused on obesity related to six single gene-related, or monogenic, MC4 pathway deficiencies — pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), leptin receptor, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, Alström syndrome, POMC heterozygous and POMC epigenetic disorders — for which there are currently no effective or approved treatments.

In the filing, Rhythm said:

Obesity is epidemic in the United States and current treatment approaches have demonstrated limited long-term success for most obese patients. We are taking a different approach to obesity drug development by leveraging new understanding of the genetic causes of severe obesity to develop innovative therapies that we believe have the potential for compelling efficacy. We believe we are at the forefront of improving treatment outcomes in subtypes of severe obesity that are caused by genetically-defined defects in the MC4 pathway.

The company intends to use the net proceeds from this offering to further fund the development of its pipeline and for the preparation of the commercialization of setmelanotide. The remainder will be put toward working capital and general corporate purposes.