With MS & Fibrosis Trials Planned, J&J-Partnered Contineum Now Preps for IPO

18 Mar 2024
Phase 1IPOAcquisitionClinical ResultPhase 2
Johnson & Johnson is a partner on Contineum Therapeutics’ most advanced program, which is currently in mid-stage clinical testing for multiple sclerosis. As that research continues and Contineum plans to advance the development of its wholly owned assets, the biotech is moving forward with plans for an IPO. Contineum, which traces its origins to a startup creation engine of venture capital firm Versant Ventures, filed its IPO paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Friday. The company has not yet set any financial terms for its planned stock market debut, but IPO research firm Renaissance Capital said the offering could reach up to $150 million. The San Diego-based biotech has applied for a Nasdaq listing under the stock symbol “CTNM.” Contineum’s most advanced program is PIPE-307, a small molecule designed to selectively block the M1R receptor. This approach has potential applications in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and depression. Contineum has reported Phase 1 results showed the drug candidate was well tolerated across all doses and showed no dose-related effects on cognitive function. Nearly a year ago, J&J licensed global rights to PIPE-307 for all potential indications. However, the deal still permits Contineum to develop this molecule for relapsing and remitting forms of MS by conducting a Phase 2 study. That clinical trial is ongoing. A Phase 1 test of this molecule in depression is also underway as part of the J&J collaboration. The lead wholly owned Contineum asset is PIPE-791, a program currently in Phase 1 testing. This small molecule is designed to block LPA1, a receptor whose activation is associated with the development of organ scarring called fibrosis. The company believes the molecule’s ability to block LPA1 could treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a chronic lung disorder with few available treatments. MS is another potential application for PIPE-791. Levels of LPA, a pro-inflammatory protein, are elevated in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients, which may contribute to the progression of this disease, Contineum said in the filing. One key feature of this molecule is its ability to penetrate the brain. In preclinical research, the company said blocking the LPA1 receptor reduces neuroinflammation and promotes remyelination, the formation of new myelin sheaths on axons that have lost this protective layer. Contineum plans to submit an application this year seeking permission in the U.K. for an open-label Phase 1b test of PIPE-791 to assess the molecule’s ability to bind to receptors in the lungs and brain as measured by PET imaging. This study will inform dose selection for planned future Phase 2 tests of the molecule in IPF and progressive MS. The pipeline also includes CTX-343, an LPA1 receptor-blocking molecule that does not cross the blood brain barrier. This capability could provide Contineum more options for its drug portfolio, the company said. CTX-343 is currently preclinical. Contineum traces its roots to Inception Sciences, one of the drug discovery engine of Versant Ventures. Inception and Roche had collaborated to discover and develop small molecules that promote remyelination of nerve fibers damaged as MS progresses. After Roche acquired this neuroscience program for an undisclosed sum in 2018, Versant launched Pipeline Therapeutics, a startup led by the same team that worked on the program that Roche acquired. Versant said Pipeline would focus on developing “next-generation neurodegenerative therapies.” In late 2023, Pipeline changed its name to Contineum Therapeutics. Contineum has raised about $194 million in financing, according to the filing. The J&J alliance paid $50 million upfront and could pay out up to $1 billion tied to the achievement of milestones. Versant is Contineum’s largest shareholder with a 32.2% pre-IPO stake; Johnson & Johnson’s stake is 10.1%. The company’s most recent financing was a 2021 Series C round that raised $80 million. As of the end of 2023, Contineum reported a $15.5 million cash position along with $109.6 million in marketable securities. That capital, combined with the IPO proceeds, will go toward continued clinical development of the LPA1 receptor antagonist, including the completion of Phase 1b testing. An unspecified amount of additional cash will go toward planned Phase 2 tests in IPF and progressive MS. Contineum also plans to use the IPO proceeds to complete Phase 2 testing of its J&J-partnered molecule in relapsing and remitting forms of MS. Image: Getty Images
The content of the article does not represent any opinions of Synapse and its affiliated companies. If there is any copyright infringement or error, please contact us, and we will deal with it within 24 hours.
Get started for free today!
Accelerate Strategic R&D decision making with Synapse, PatSnap’s AI-powered Connected Innovation Intelligence Platform Built for Life Sciences Professionals.
Start your data trial now!
Synapse data is also accessible to external entities via APIs or data packages. Leverages most recent intelligence information, enabling fullest potential.