Biopharma companies pledge $1B to fund antibiotics R&D as field shrivels; Four biotechs hunt $797M+

→ As promised, a group of some 20 biopharma companies have pooled close to $1 billion to fund new research in antibiotics — a field that has been dying of late. Small margins and tiny markets have killed off a slate of players in the field and drove out most of the big organizations. Now Eli Lilly, Pfizer and others hope to foot the bill for a group of 2 to 4 new antibiotics in the next 10 years. Pfizer alone pledged $100 million for the industry effort. “With the AMR Action Fund, the pharmaceutical industry is investing nearly $1 billion to sustain an antibiotic pipeline that is on the verge of collapse, a potentially devastating situation that could affect millions of people around the world,” said David Ricks, Eli Lilly CEO and president of IFPMA.

Here’s the list of backers: Almirall, Amgen, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Chugai, Daiichi Sankyo, Eisai, Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, LEO Pharma, Lundbeck, Menarini, Merck, MSD, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Pfizer, Roche, Shionogi, Takeda, Teva, and UCB.

→ A slate of biotechs are seizing the moment to raise ever-larger sums from their public debuts. They include:

  • Relay Therapeutics, which is developing small molecule therapies for solid tumors. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech set terms for a $250 million IPO by offering 14.7 million shares between $16 and $18 — conferring a fully diluted market value of $1.5 billion at the midpoint.
  • San Diego-based Poseida Therapeutics increased its proposed deal size by 49%, shooting to infuse $224 million into its CAR-T pipeline for multiple myeloma.
  • NK cell player Nkarta reckoned that investors will pour in as much as 43% more than what it originally penciled in, now planning for a $215 million float around a preclinical pitch. The proposed range is $16 to $17, with a market value of $519 million at the midpoint.
  • French NASH player Inventiva, which raised the proposed range to $13.40 – $15.40. The goal now is to bring in $108 million for the secondary listing.