The IPO market is yet to fully recover from headwinds like the economic slowdown and Russia-Ukraine war. But activity is gradually picking up and a slew of listings are lined up for this year, with strong representation from the technology and healthcare sectors.
MAIA Biotechnology, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of immunotherapies for cancer, is among the healthcare firms joining the IPO bandwagon. The Chicago-based company this week revealed plans to become a public entity through a traditional initial public offering.
After the IPO, MAIA’s shares will to trade on the Nasdaq stock market under the ticker symbol MAIA. ThinkEquity is the representative of the underwriters in the offering. The company is expected to provide additional details like the number of shares being offered and the offer price in its future filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
THIO, the drugmaker’s lead candidate, is currently being investigated for the treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The formulation, which is an investigational dual mechanism of action drug candidate incorporating telomere-targeting and immunogenicity, is slated to enter advanced-stage human trials in Australia and Europe later this year.
Based on data currently available, the management looks to seek accelerated approval of THIO in the U.S. for the treatment of patients with advanced NSCLC. Also, plans are afoot to start a clinical trial in patients with advanced colorectal cancer early next year.
Last year, MAIA clinched an important drug supply deal with Tarrytown-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN). Under the pact, the latter would supply for free cemiplimab — a monoclonal antibody medication for the treatment of cancer that is sold under the brand name Libtayo — to be used along with THIO in the ongoing clinical trial.
Focus on THIO
MAIA was founded in August 2018 by biotechnology veteran Vlad Vitoc, who is currently serving as the chief executive officer. The management’s immediate focus is on taking forward the phase-II study of THIO in combination with cemiplimab, while advancing the other clinical programs. The company intends to pursue more strategic partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies having immune-activating therapies.
The promising clinical programs and potential cost savings from the Regeneron tie-up bode well for MAIA in terms of launching commercially viable products in the long term. But that does not insulate it from the risks and uncertainties typically associated with early-stage drug developers.
In the absence of marketable products, MAIA is yet to generate revenues. In the fiscal year ended December 2021, it incurred a loss of $12.5 million or $2.37 per share, which is nearly double that of the $6.64-million loss recorded in the previous year. The weakness in bottom-line perforamnce can mainly be attributed to a sharp increase in research & development expenses.
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