Rare disease drug developer BridgeBio Pharma raised $349 million in an upsized initial public offering, the biggest IPO to date for a biotech company in 2019.

The company sold a total of 20.5 million shares at $17 a share.

BridgeBio was formed in 2015 to create “life-altering medicines” that target well-characterized genetic diseases at their source,” according to the company’s registration filing for the IPO.

The company translates research pioneered at academic laboratories and leading medical institutions into products. Their model involves identifying the genetic underpinnings of disease as more cost-efficient genome and exome sequencing becomes available and taking advantage of the progress in molecular biology and increased understanding of the linkage of genes to diseases.

BridgeBio follows a capital efficient business model that involves licensing the rights and setting up subsidiaries to house each candidate in its pipeline. The subsidiaries share resources with the parent company and each other.

BridgeBio said its early stage candidate subsidiaries have fewer than five-member teams that can grow as candidates reach human-testing stage.

BridgeBio’s pipeline includes more than 15 development programs ranging from early discovery to late-stage development, including two preclinical gene therapy candidates. The Palo-Alto based company says some of its programs target indications that have the potential, if approved, to reach at least $1 billion in sales.

One of its subsidiaries, Eidos Therapeutics, went public last year, and is developing a small molecule stabilizer of TTR that is in an ongoing phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM). Another investigational drug in late stage development is BridgeBio’s Origin a synthetic cPMP for MOCD Type A, a severe, ultra-rare neurological disease affecting newborns. 

BridgeBio’s model is not unique. Avalon Venture’s COI Pharma takes a similar approach, sharing a management team among several small startups. Roivant Sciences also sets up separate companies known as “Vants” around separate unment needs.

Photo: BridgeBio CEO Neil Kumar

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