RARE Daily

Forma Therapeutics Raises $278 Million in Initial Public Offering

June 19, 2020

Forma Therapeutics raised $278 million in an upsized initial public offering of 13.9 million shares of its common stock at $20 per share, selling 2.1 million shares more than expected at a price significantly above the biotech’s filing range of $16 to $18 per share.

The company will trade on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol “FMTX.”

Forma focuses on developing drugs for rare hematologic diseases and cancers, and it is the ninth rare disease focused biotech to go public this year. Founded in 2007, it has long been a platform-based drug company that uses high-throughput screening to discover new drugs that would be developed by partners.

Recently it completed a transition to become a fully integrated therapeutics company focused on rare blood disorders and cancer and brought in Frank Lee, formerly a senior vice president of global product strategy at Genentech, as CEO to guide the company on its new path.

Forma’s lead program FT-4202 is in phase 1 development for the treatment of sickle cell disease that has been granted Rare Pediatric Disease and Fast Track designations by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a red blood cell disorder that causes a patient’s oxygen-carrying cells to be abnormally inflexible and sickle-shaped. This genetic defect leads to lowered oxygen-carrying capacity in the hemoglobin protein of these red blood cells. Sickle cell disease can cause inflammation of extremities, bacterial infections, stroke, anemia, and attacks of pain called vaso-occlusive crises.

FT-4202 is a selective pyruvate kinase-R activator that exhibits the potential to beneficially impact both anemia and vaso-occlusive crises for people living with SCD. It works by helping hemoglobin hold on to oxygen molecules longer and to reduce red blood cell sickling.

Forma is currently enrolling patients with SCD in a phase 1 study to evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics of FT-4202. The company plans to initiate a registrational trial within the next year.

Life sciences IPOs have been sizzling of late, with six companies engaged in drug discovery and development completing offerings in the past two weeks, five of them raising $200 million or more through their IPOs. Of those five, four companies did not yet have a drug candidate in the clinic. Thirty life sciences companies (excluding Royalty Pharma) have completed IPOs so far in 2020 raising a total of $6.5 billion. This includes $3.9 billion raised by 23 companies engaged in drug discovery and development.

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