2 Pharma Giants Shine as Wall Street Brings Strong IPOs for Cortexyme and NextCure

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It may seem like a time of uncertainty for companies producing drugs if they have to include the prices if they advertise those drugs to the public. Some companies always will be able to charge whatever they want, particularly if they can create cures or better treatments for deadly diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.

This week has brought uncertainty in the financial markets. That’s generally a bad thing for the world of initial public offerings. Thursday market saw two very successful IPOs in the emerging biotech sector. Both companies have no formal revenues from product sales as they are in the clinical stages. What’s interesting here is that Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) has a stake in both companies, and Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) is a partner and stakeholder in the other.

Cortexyme Inc. (NASDAQ: CRTX) has said that the company is pioneering a novel disease-modifying therapeutic approach to treat a key underlying cause of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases. Pfizer was a 14.7% stockholder ahead of the IPO, and Takeda Ventures had a 12.3% stake.

The Cortexyme IPO was 4,412,000 shares of common stock at a price of $17 per share. The company granted its underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 661,800 shares at the $17.00 offering price. All the shares of common stock are being offered by Cortexyme. Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse were the joint book-running managers, and Canaccord Genuity and JMP Securities acted as co-managers.

Cortexyme’s shares priced in the middle of its $16 to $18 price range, but its shares were last seen trading up about 80% at $30.00, after the shares initially opened up at $20. The company’s description in its press release:

Cortexyme is targeting a specific, infectious pathogen found in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients and tied to neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation in animal models. The company’s lead investigational medicine, COR388, is the subject of the GAIN Trial, an ongoing Phase 2/3 clinical study in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.

NextCure Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTC) opened on Thursday with a strong IPO as well. The clinical-stage biotech is target novel first-in-class immunomedicines to treat cancer and other immune-related diseases.

NextCure’s IPO was 5,000,000 shares of common stock at a price of $15 per share, also between its $14 to $16 indicated price range. The stock opened at $15.55 but quickly traded up almost 30% to $19.50 in midday trading.

NextCure granted its underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 750,000 shares of its common stock. Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Piper Jaffray were listed as the joint book-running managers.

NextCure focuses on patients who do not respond to current therapies, whose cancer progresses despite treatment and with cancer types that are not adequately addressed by available therapies. The company has four different targets on its pipeline platform, and the FIND-IO Platform is targeting multiple cell types in a discovery stage in a partnership with Eli Lilly.

NextCure also showed in its IPO filing that Pfizer owned 10.4% of its outstanding shares. Eli Lilly was shown to be a 5.5% stakeholder, but Lilly Asia Ventures was a 10% stakeholder in the company.

It’s an impressive day when two IPOs are well received when drug-selling revenues are unlikely for quite some time, and even longer before profits can be considered.

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