Childhood cancer-focused Day One tees up $100M IPO

Childhood cancer-focused Day One tees up $100M IPO

After a busy year of fundraising, building its team and picking up new assets, Day One Biopharmaceuticals is heading to Wall Street. The company filed to raise up to $100 million in its IPO, which will bankroll clinical trials of its lead program in multiple cancers and fuel its hunt for more assets to add to its pipeline.

Though Day One is working on cancer treatments for patients of all ages, its starting point is children, who often remain an afterthought in oncology drug development. It will use the IPO proceeds to continue the development of its lead asset, a RAF inhibitor called DAY101, as a treatment for the most common brain tumor diagnosed in treatment, progressive low-grade glioma (pLGG).

That includes a pivotal phase 2 study for children and young adults with relapsed or progressive low-grade glioma, a phase 3 trial testing DAY101 as a potential frontline treatment for this type of brain cancer, and a phase 2 trial in adults with RAS or RAF-altered solid tumors, the company said in a securities filing. The company will list under the ticker “DAWN.”

Day One will also start a phase 1b/2 study of DAY101 in combination with pimasertib, a MEK inhibitor the company picked up from Merck KGaA. The study will test the combo in adults with MAPK-altered solid tumors.

Besides bankrolling clinical trials for DAY101, the IPO haul will help get Day One ready to commercialize the drug. It will also fund the company’s search for more preclinical and clinical programs to acquire or partner on and the development of those programs toward IND filings and the clinic.

Founded in 2018, Day One emerged from stealth in May 2020, with $60 million to develop DAY101, licensed from Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, which previously licensed the asset to Takeda. Five months later, founding CEO Julie Grant handed the reins to Jeremy Bender, Ph.D., who previously oversaw acquisitions, partnerships and investments at Gilead as its vice president of corporate development.

In February, the company raised $130 million in its series B round and licensed pimasertib and a second oral MEK inhibitor from Merck KGaA. The German pharma had taken both drugs through phase 2 in multiple cancers but decided against going further into the clinic.

Day One is the latest in a series of biotech companies that have filed to raise a $100 million IPO in recent months. Others include the asset-centric drug developer, Centessa Pharmaceuticals, cytokine player Werewolf Therapeutics and cancer-focused Rain Therapeutics.

If recent deals are any indication, the $100 million IPO has become a placeholder for much larger sums. Recursion Pharmaceuticals and Bolt Biotherapeutics both filed to raise $100 million in their Wall Street debuts; they ultimately raised $436 million and $230 million, respectively. Sana Biotechnology, which aimed for $150 million in January, wound up raising a whopping $587.5 million.

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