TESARO promises rapid progress with cancer drugs in $86M IPO

News | 03. 26. 2012


March 26, 2012

TESARO has put together an SEC filing that makes one essential promise to prospective investors interested in buying in on its $86 million IPO: This company is built for speed.

In less than a year, the developer boasts, it in-licensed rolapitant and pushed the cancer treatment into a Phase III study, with an eye to delivering top line data in the second half of next year. An IND for TSR-011 as a new therapy for non-small cell lung cancer, in-licensed from Amgen ($AMGN) in the spring of last year, is being prepped for filing in the second half. Executives--experienced veterans of MGI Pharma, which fetched close to $4 billion--are forging an accelerated pathway aimed at reducing the time it takes to reach the market. Meanwhile, more in-licensing is planned as they build out a pipeline of cancer drugs for a global marketplace. And they plan to use their connections in the cancer drug world along with substantial venture backing to make that happen.

To get to this point, TESARO has burned slightly more than $25 million from investors like NEA and Kleiner Perkins. But CEO Lonnie Moulder and his co-founders--chief scientist Mary Lynne Hedley and financial chief Rick Rogers--grabbed the industry's attention with its ability to raise $121 million in short order. Their quick success and emphasis on speed earned a Fierce 15 award in 2011.

TESARO, though, has a set of negatives shared by everyone at this stage: No product revenue, high risk R&D work, and only a two-year track record. That's been more than enough to chill the average investor on biotech IPOs over the past three years. Now the veteran team can see if experience and a bold timetable can warm up their prospects on Wall Street.

It should be interesting to see if their formula for success can bridge troubled market waters to a successful IPO.