Rare Daily Staff
Vera Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing and commercializing transformative treatments for patients with serious immunological diseases, raised $48 million in an initial public offering.
The company priced 4.4 million shares of its Class A common stock at $11 per share, well below its target range of $14 to $16 per share. pricing of its initial public offering of 4,350,000 shares of its Class A common stock at a price to the public of $11.00 per share. In addition, Vera has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 652,500 shares of its Class A common stock at the initial public offering price, less the underwriting discounts and commissions. The shares will trade on the Nasdaq Global Market on May 14, 2021, under the ticker symbol “VERA.”
Vera launched in January 2021 with $80 million in a series C financing and an experienced executive development team from Gilead Sciences to advance lead clinical candidate, atacicept, a novel inhibitor of B cells and plasma cells, in patients with IgA nephropathy (IgAN), a rare and serious disease with high unmet medical need and no approved therapies.
IgAN, also known as Berger’s disease, is an autoimmune disease driven by the deposition of abnormal immune complexes that accumulate in the kidneys, causing inflammatory tissue damage and kidney failure.
In-licensed from Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, atacicept has been studied previously in autoimmune diseases and shown to reduce autoantibodies in a dose-dependent fashion with once-weekly subcutaneous dosing and has a well-established and acceptable clinical safety profile. New clinical trial results in patients with IgAN presented in 2020 showed that atacicept significantly reduces galactose-deficient immunoglobulin A (Gd-IgA1)—the source of immune complexes that cause disease—and proteinuria.
Vera is on track to start a phase 2b study in IgAN patients in mid-2021 and is scaling up commercial manufacturing capabilities.
The company is also evaluating additional diseases where atacicept’s reduction of autoantibodies may prove medically useful, including lupus nephritis, a severe renal manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus.