More data, more dollars: Three biotechs post offerings after trial readouts

The pat­tern goes as fol­lows: roll out the da­ta first, and then go to in­vestors and ask for more mon­ey.

Three biotechs played right in­to that strat­e­gy on Tues­day.

The first was Jasper Ther­a­peu­tics, which kicked things off Tues­day af­ter­noon by an­nounc­ing it plans on sell­ing shares via a pub­lic of­fer­ing. Jasper elab­o­rat­ed Wednes­day morn­ing, dis­clos­ing it would sell 60 mil­lion shares of stock at $1.50 each, for around $90 mil­lion. The stock $JSPR ticked up more than 10% af­ter the open­ing bell.

While the state­ment said the biotech in­tends to use the pro­ceeds for gen­er­al ex­pens­es, work­ing cap­i­tal and cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­tures, an SEC fil­ing al­so not­ed Jasper may use a por­tion of the fi­nanc­ing to “ac­quire or in­vest in oth­er busi­ness­es, prod­ucts and tech­nolo­gies that are com­ple­men­tary to our own.” How­ev­er, there are no cur­rent plans to do just that.

This an­nounce­ment comes af­ter a pos­i­tive da­ta read­out ear­li­er in Jan­u­ary, where Jasper’s an­ti-c-KIT mon­o­clon­al an­ti­body, known as briquil­imab, was test­ed in a tri­al along­side an ex­ist­ing bone mar­row trans­plan­ta­tion reg­i­men for three pa­tients with sick­le cell dis­ease. The goal of the tri­al was to see if adding the an­ti­body would lead to a high­er per­cent­age of stem cell en­graft­ment with­out in­creased tox­i­c­i­ty. All pa­tients treat­ed were suc­cess­ful­ly en­graft­ed, Jasper said at the time, and had no ad­verse ef­fect re­lat­ed to briquil­imab.

Next up is pen­ny-stock Ve­rastem On­col­o­gy, which put out word less than 90 min­utes af­ter Jasper on Tues­day that it was rais­ing $60 mil­lion in a pri­vate place­ment of­fer­ing. How it’s get­ting the mon­ey, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment, is by sell­ing 2.1 mil­lion shares of pre­ferred stock to af­fil­i­ates of ven­ture cap­i­tal firm BVF Part­ners.

That place­ment came af­ter re­leas­ing ini­tial tranch­es of da­ta ear­li­er Tues­day from an on­go­ing Phase II study look­ing at a com­bi­na­tion treat­ment in pa­tients with re­cur­rent and heav­i­ly pre-treat­ed LGSOC, or low-grade serous ovar­i­an can­cer. Out of 29 pa­tients that could be eval­u­at­ed, Ve­rastem re­port­ed an ORR of 28%.

Last­ly was Pre­ci­gen, which re­port­ed sev­er­al hours af­ter the oth­er com­pa­nies on Tues­day night that it would be rais­ing $75 mil­lion via a pub­lic of­fer­ing.

The biotech said it would be sell­ing more than 42 mil­lion shares of com­mon stock at $1.75 each, giv­ing un­der­writ­ers 30 days to buy an­oth­er 6.4 mil­lion shares at that price and clos­ing Fri­day. Per an SEC fil­ing, Pre­ci­gen plans to use the funds for “gen­er­al cor­po­rate pur­pos­es,” which may in­clude clin­i­cal tri­als, fur­ther R&D, work­ing cap­i­tal, and more.

Just like Jasper and Ve­rastem, the of­fer­ing comes on the heels of a da­ta read­out. Ear­li­er that day, Pre­ci­gen an­nounced pos­i­tive Phase I da­ta for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion­al im­munother­a­py in pa­tients with re­cur­rent res­pi­ra­to­ry pa­pil­lo­mato­sis, a dis­ease of the up­per res­pi­ra­to­ry tract where re­cur­rent, wart-like growths ap­pear on the sur­face of the vo­cal cords or the sur­round­ing tis­sue. It is caused by in­fec­tion from HPV-6 or HPV-11. Pa­tients have no ap­proved ther­a­py, as growth-re­moval surgery is the cur­rent stan­dard of care.

Clin­i­cal da­ta from the Phase I showed the im­munother­a­py re­duced the need for surg­eries in pa­tients at the high­er of two dose lev­els. Half of those in that high­er dose group showed no need for surg­eries for 12 months af­ter fin­ish­ing treat­ment with the im­munother­a­py can­di­date.

De­spite the da­ta, the share price of $PGEN opened Wednes­day morn­ing down al­most 30%.