Woodland Hills-based Acelyrn Inc., which is developing immunology drugs, raised at least $540 million in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq market on May 5
Trading under the symbol SLRN, Acelyrin offered 30 million shares at $18 per share. At the close of trading on May 5, the share price had zoomed up 30% to close at $23.50.
Acelyrin was founded in late 2020 as a clinical biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of immunological therapies. But unlike many other immunology companies whose founders develop specific drug platforms in the lab and then seek to commercialize them, Acelyrin has been focused primarily on acquiring promising drug platforms and taking them through the final stages of development and clinical trials.
In the words of Acelyrin founder and chief executive Shao-Lee Lin, Acelyrin’s mission is “to identify, acquire, and accelerate the development and delivery of therapies with the potential to provide clinically meaningful, differentiated benefits to patients based on the science of the targets or characteristics of the molecules.”
The company quickly amassed a huge war chest, raising $558 million in just 21 months, including $300 million in a series C funding round that closed in September.
As an example of its strategy, in January, Acelyrin acquired Bethesda, Maryland-based immunotherapy company ValenzaBio Inc.; financial terms of that deal were not disclosed. ValenzaBio has a drug in an early-phase study to treat thyroid eye disease and another drug in pre-clinical trial phase to treat chronic urticaria, a skin allergy condition that can serve as an indicator for other internal diseases.
At the time, Lin said of the acquisition, “We will continue to look for additional ‘diamond in the rough’ opportunities as we pursue the acquisition, development and delivery of transformative medicines for patients.”
Most of the $540 million raised in the IPO will go toward this acquisition and drug development strategy.