Having priced its shares at the top of its range, UChicago spinout Pyxis Oncology suffered a drop on the first day of trading.

Pyxis Oncology, a US-based cancer therapy developer spun out of University of Chicago (UChicago), issued 10.5 million shares priced at $16 to raise $168m in an upsized initial public offering on Friday. Although the price marks the top end of Pyxis’ range and shares opened at $18.88, they crashed to $13.20 by the end of the first day of trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, where Pyxis is now listed under PYXS. Founded in 2018, Pyxis is developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and immunotherapies for cancers that are difficult to treat. It advances work by Thomas Gajewski, the AbbVie Foundation professor of pathology at UChicago. Gajewski co-founded the spinout with John Flavin, then the associate vice-president of entrepreneurship and innovation at UChicago. A total of $140m has been allocated to the preclinical development of the spinout’s three programmes and, should these be successful, the progression into the clinic. Capital is also going towards discovery programmes, the in-licensing of assets and other business activities. Pyxis obtained $152m in series B funding in April 2021 co-led by Arix Bioscience and RTW Investments, with commitments from pharmaceutical firm Ipsen, its peer Pfizer’s corporate venturing unit Pfizer Ventures, and pharmaceutical and chemical group Bayer’s Leaps by Bayer division. Perceptive Advisors, RA Capital Management, BVF Partners, Janus Henderson Investors, Cormorant Asset Management, HBM Healthcare Investments, Acuta Capital Partners, Ridgeback Capital Investments and Surveyor Capital also lined up cash for the series B round. They were joined by Laurion Capital Management, Logos Capital, LifeSci Venture Partners, funds managed by Tekla Capital Management, Longwood Fund and Agent Capital. Pyxis had attracted $22m in a series A round featuring UChicago’s Startup Investment Program – which supplied $300,000 – in 2019. That round was led by Leaps by Bayer and also included Ipsen, Longwood and Agent Capital. Pfizer remains Pyxis Oncology’s largest shareholder following the IPO with an 8.8% stake, followed by Bayer (8.4%), Perceptive (4.7%), Arix and RTW (4.4% each), RA Capital (3.9%) and Longwood (3.7%). BofA Securities, Jefferies, Credit Suisse Securities (USA), William Blair & Company and LifeSci Capital are the underwriters for the offering. They have been granted a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1.57 million shares.

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Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).