OncoMed Pharma files for IPO
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


REDWOOD CITY, Calif.óOncoMed Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company working on antibody therapeutics for cancer treatment, filed its papers with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in recent days to embark on an initial public offering (IPO) with the intent to raise as much as $115 million and be listed on he NASDAQ under the symbol OMED.
The filing does not, however, outline how many shares the company plans to offer nor at what price.  
The company told the SEC in a preliminary prospectus that Jefferies, Leerink Swann, Piper Jaffray and BMO Capital Markets were underwriting the IPO and made note of the fact that OncoMed has strategic alliances in place with GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer AG.  
OncoMed was founded in 2004 and, according to its SEC filing, had an accumulated deficit of $136.6 million as of March 31. OncoMed lost $15 million last year alone, and its only revenue has come from grants and collaborations with such companies as Bayer and GSK.  
The proceeds of the IPO reportedly would be used to advance its lead drug, demcizumab (OMP-21M18) and two other drugs (OMP-59R5 and OMP-18R5) into Phase II clinical trials, as well as for the programs with Glaxo and Bayer and for other research and discovery efforts. In addition to the three drugs heading for the clinic, OncoMed has two others in preclinical development.
OncoMed's aim is for its monoclonal antibody drugs to target the cancer stem cells that drive tumors to grow and spread, under the theory that if the stems cells cannot renew themselves, the cancer cannot recur. OncoMed's three clinical-stage candidates target key cancer stem cell signaling pathways including Notch and Wnt while preclinical product candidates also are aiming at such pathways as RSPO-LGR.  
As OncoMed puts it, "Cancer stem cells, a small, resilient subset of cells found in tumors, have the capacity to self-renew and differentiate, leading to tumor initiation and driving tumor growth, recurrence and metastasis. Also referred to as 'tumor-initiating cells,' these cells were first discovered by OncoMed's scientific founders in breast cancer and have subsequently been identified in many other tumor types, including brain, colon, lung, prostate, and pancreatic cancer. Cancer stem cells appear to be preferentially resistant to both standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy." 

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