Fierce 15 winner Prelude Therapeutics is going for a $100 million IPO, a pretty common goal for biotechs in 2020, as it looks to finish off early clinical work for its cancer candidate PRT543.
The biotech is targeting PRMT5, an enzyme related to treatment resistance and oncogenesis in both solid and hematological cancers, although it has stayed mum on exact oncologic targets.
While several epigenetic-focused biotechs have zeroed in on lysine and its effects on DNA regulation, Prelude Therapeutics is taking a different tack by aiming at the methylation of arginine—specifically, the enzyme PRMT5 and its effects on the cell cycle, RNA splicing and signaling.
By blocking it, Prelude hopes to starve treatment-resistant cancers of the splicing and proliferative mechanics necessary for tumor growth and survival.
PRMT5 is overexpressed in several types of cancer, including solid and blood-based disease. Those with sensitive pathways include bladder cancer and triple-negative breast cancer, as well as lymphoma and myeloid malignancies.
Prelude’s lead inhibitor, PRT543, is in a phase 1, with data expected to be out next year, according to its SEC filing. It has revealed interim phase 1 results, which it says “indicate dose-dependent increases in exposure and target engagement, and we have observed early signs of clinical activity, including a confirmed complete response, or CR, in a patient with HRD+ high grade serious ovarian cancer.”
It’s also working on pushing two other candidates into the clinic using its platform, including PRT811, a second PRMT5 inhibitor optimized for high brain exposure, in a phase 1 hitting solid tumors, including tough-to-treat brain tumors. “We expect to begin enrolling patients in the expansion portion of the phase 1 clinical trial in the first half OF 2021,” the company said in its SEC-1.
It’s also got FDA clearance to start a third trial for PRT1419, which is designed to be a potent and selective inhibitor of the anti-apoptotic protein, MCL1. “We are initiating a phase 1 clinical trial in relapsed/refractory patients with myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or NHL, and multiple myeloma, or MM, in the second half of 2020,” it added.
There has been a small stampede to the public markets this year, with many riding the wave of positivity for the sector amid its fight against COVID-19, at the expense of almost every other industry.
Almost all biotechs have set $100 million as their initial IPO targets, though many have gone well beyond this. Prelude, which actually has a drug in the clinic (unlike so many preclinical biotechs this year), with more to come in the next year, will hope to do the same.
The Wilmington, Delaware-based biotech was founded back in 2016 and plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol PRLD.