As the first week of the new year slowly unfolds, it appears the pharmaceutical industry is taking the front seat in the IPO market. Three pharma companies are expected to make their market debut this Friday. Vigil Neuroscience is one of them. Here are a few points to note about this upcoming IPO:
Vigil Neuroscience Inc. is scheduled to go public on Friday, January 7. It will begin trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol VIGL. The company will offer 7 million shares at a price range of between $15 and $17. The IPO will be managed by a group of underwriters led by Morgan Stanley and Jefferies.
As per its regulatory filings, Vigil Neuroscience is a microglia-focused company that is involved in the development of disease-modifying therapeutics that restore the vigilance of microglia in patients suffering from rare and common neurodegenerative diseases. Microglia are the sentinel immune cells of the brain that play a critical role in maintaining central nervous system (CNS) health and responding to damage caused by disease.
Utilizing recent research that suggests microglial dysfunction to be a factor in neurodegenerative diseases, the company uses a precision medicine approach to develop a pipeline of therapeutic candidates that it believes will activate and restore microglial function.
Its first therapeutic candidates are designed to activate Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells 2 (TREM2), a key microglial receptor protein that mediates responses to environmental signals in order to maintain brain health and whose dysfunction is linked to neurodegeneration.
The company’s lead candidate, VGL 101, is a fully human monoclonal antibody (mAb) that is designed to activate TREM2. Vigil is initially developing VGL 101 for the treatment of adult-onset leukoencephalopathy with axonal spheroids and pigmented glia (ALSP), a rare, genetically defined, and fatal neurodegenerative disease caused by microglial dysfunction.
In November 2021, the FDA cleared Vigil’s Investigational New Drug application for VGL 101 in ALSP at doses up to 20 mg/kg. The company initiated its first-in-human Phase 1 clinical trial with VGL 101 in December and expects to announce topline data in the second half of 2022. Beyond VGL 101, the company is developing a novel small molecule TREM2 activator for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
The company has not begun to generate revenues. For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, the company reported a net loss of $30.2 million. Pro forma net loss per common share for the period amounted to $1.44. Total operating expenses in the period were $29.4 million.
ALSP affects an estimated 10,000 people in the US, with about 1,000 to 2,000 new cases annually. ALSP has been diagnosed in countries around the world, with major clusters in North America (US and Canada), Central and Northern Europe, and Asia.
AD is the most common cause of dementia affecting an estimated 6.2 million patients in the US alone. The cost of care for people with AD to the healthcare system is substantial. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the aggregate cost of AD and other dementias is expected to be $355 billion in 2021 and this number could increase to as much as $1.1 trillion by 2050.
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