Acumen Pharmaceuticals is developing an Alzheimer’s disease drug that it believes has advantages over other methods, including the recently approved Biogen therapy. A small clinical trial is underway to possibly prove these claims, and the company now receives $160 million from the IPO to continue its research.
Acuity Pricing Its stock price is US$16 per share, which is the high end of the estimated price range of US$14 to US$16 per share. The Charlottesville, Virginia-based company was able to scale up the deal and issue nearly 10 million shares, up from the previously planned 8.3 million shares. These stocks began trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday under the ticker symbol “ABOS.” Investors showed enthusiasm for Acumen’s approach because its stock opened at $25 per share, which is more than 56% higher than the IPO price.
Acumen’s research follows the so-called amyloid hypothesis, which assumes that Alzheimer’s disease results from the accumulation of beta amyloid in plaques in the brain. The company said in a statement that drug developers have used antibodies to solve these plaques, aimed at disrupting the accumulation of problematic proteins or targeting beta amyloid monomers, the form of the protein before it causes disease. Listing applicationMost of these methods either fail to show effectiveness or are hindered by toxicity issues.
In an “improvement” to the amyloid hypothesis, Acumen said that research has found at least three different forms of beta amyloid in the body. Acumen’s research focuses on soluble beta amyloid oligomers (AbOs), which are clusters of amyloid proteins. In the IPO filing, the company stated that it believes this form of amyloid is the most toxic and pathogenic form, which can cause synapses and neurodegeneration. In animal studies, the accumulation of AbO is related to the degradation and loss of synapses, the formation of tau protein tangles, and inflammation. Acumen added that this form of amyloid is associated with behavioral deficits, including learning and memory impairment.
“Based on this evidence, we believe that blocking toxicity [beta amyloid oligomers] It is the most promising treatment for AD (Alzheimer’s disease), which prompted us to discover and develop ACU193,” Acumen said in the IPO document.
ACU193 is a monoclonal antibody that is administered as an intravenous infusion. Acumen drugs are designed to selectively bind to AbO.in spite of Biogen’s recently approved Aduhelm Acumen also targets AbO and beta amyloid plaques and believes that its drugs can provide safety advantages. The side-effect risks listed for Biogen drugs include brain swelling and minor bleeding points. Because of these risks, the FDA stated that patients must undergo regular brain imaging to check for these problems. Acumen said its antibodies have been designed to reduce its impact on immune cells. It also aims to avoid binding to amyloid on blood vessel cells. The company expects these features to reduce the incidence of problems associated with targeted therapies for amyloid plaques.
Acumen still needs to prove that its method can work in humans. The Phase 1 clinical trial started in April and aims to recruit 62 patients with mild dementia or mild cognitive impairment caused by Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to evaluating the safety and tolerability of the drug, the study also aims to prove the mechanism of ACU193. The data is expected to be released by the end of 2022.
Acumen was established in 1996, but the origin of ACU193 can be traced back to Merck’s laboratory, and Merck started research on leading antibodies in 2003. According to the IPO document, that year, Acumen began to establish a research and development partnership with the pharmaceutical giant, focusing on immunotherapy for Alzheimer’s disease. Although ACU193 became the main product candidate for the study, Merck chose to terminate the program in 2011 and shift its focus to different drug candidates. Acumen subsequently obtained the right to terminate the study, including ACU193.
So far, Acumen is a single-drug company, and only recently have there been any changes to this drug. In 2018, Acumen raised its first institutional funding, reviving the company’s research. The document shows that since then, Acumen has raised approximately US$97.5 million before the IPO. The most recent cash injection was US$30 million raised in mid-June. This is the second phase of the B round of financing that ended the first phase in November last year. The documents show that RA Capital Management is the largest shareholder of Acumen, with 21.6% of the post-listing shares, followed by PBM Capital Group with 11.4%.
As of the end of the first quarter of this year, Acumen reported that it had $41.4 million in cash. This money, combined with the IPO proceeds, will fund the clinical development of its Alzheimer’s disease drug. Acumen plans to spend $75 million to complete the first phase of ACU193 testing. If the research is successful, the company plans to subsequently enter the phase 2 part of the phase 2/3 study of the plan. An additional 30 million USD is spent on chemistry, manufacturing and other research and development work. The company estimates that this cash will be enough to support the company by 2023.