News briefing: AstraZeneca follows Amgen down KRAS/SHP2 combo path; Vallon Pharmaceuticals files for $17 million IPO 

Revolution Medicines is adding AstraZeneca to its roster of clinical collaborators, lending its lead drug, RMC-4630, for a study pairing it with the pharma giant’s KRAS G12C program.

AstraZeneca will sponsor and conduct the study once its now preclinical drug is ready for human studies, an arrangement similar to the deal Revolution has with Amgen on sotorasib.

“Drug combinations are likely to be critical for defeating inherent drug resistance mechanisms exploited by RAS-addicted cancers,” CEO Mark Goldsmith said in a statement.

An allosteric SHP2 inhibitor, RMC-4630 attracted Sanofi for a partnership that involved $50 million upfront, 80% of the R&D cost, and a swath of milestones adding up to $520 million. Revolution is also working on a pipeline — from its buyout of Warp Drive Bio — of drugs that directly inhibit oncogenic RAS(ON) variants, including KRASG12C(ON) and KRASG12D(ON). — Amber Tong

Vallon Pharmaceuticals files for $17 million IPO 

More than 70 biotechs have hit Wall Street so far this year, and Vallon Pharmaceuticals is looking to join them. The Philadelphia-based company filed for a $17 million raise on Friday to develop its abuse-deterrent prescription drugs for CNS disorders.

The company’s lead candidate, dubbed ADAIR (short for abuse-deterrent amphetamine immediate-release),  is an oral formulation of immediate-release dextroamphetamine for ADHD and narcolepsy. Vallon snagged the rights from Arcturus in 2018, in return for 33.7 million shares, according to the S-1. It has completed a Phase I pivotal bioequivalence study and a Phase I food effect study.

“We are also currently conducting a preclinical embryofetal study for which we anticipate results in the fourth quarter of 2020, and planning to conduct a 13-week preclinical toxicology study on the final formulation of ADAIR and additional preclinical studies of unintended routes of administration such as IV and intranasal administration,” the S-1 states.

The company has not yet selected a ticker. — Nicole DeFeudis 

Atea sets terms for public debut, seeks to raise $253 million

Atea Pharmaceuticals filed earlier this month for a $100 million IPO. But according to terms set Monday by the Boston-based biotech, it could stand to raise much more.

The company is looking to net $253 million by offering 11 million shares at a range of $22 to $24. At the midpoint of the range, $23, Area would rake in $232.1 million, according to the S-1/A.

The company is working on antiviral therapeutics to treat single-stranded ribonucleic acid (ssRNA) viruses. Its lead candidate, AT-527, is currently in a Phase II trial to treat moderate Covid-19, with topline results expected in the first half of next year.

This month, Roche agreed to pay $350 million for development and commercialization rights to  AT-527 outside of the US. — Nicole DeFeudis