J&J-Backed Contineum unveils IPO plans to advance MS pipeline


J&J-backed Contineum unveils IPO plans to advance MS pipeline

Published: Mar 18, 2024

By Tristan Manalac


Contineum Therapeutics on Friday filed for an initial public offering, hoping to drum up additional support to advance its pipeline of small molecule drugs for multiple sclerosis and other neuroscience, inflammation and immunology indications.

The California-based biotech did not specify a fundraising target in its SEC document, but several media reports indicate that Contineum is aiming to raise $150 million. At this stage in the initial public offering (IPO) process, it’s customary for companies to put $100 million as a maximum value placeholder in their S-1 forms.

Contineum also did not reveal when it expects to close its IPO, only noting that it hopes to wrap the offering up within the year. Once completed, Contineum will trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market Under the ticker symbol CNTM.

The biotech will use the IPO proceeds to complete the Phase II trial for its most mature candidate PIPE-307, which is currently being developed in partnership with Johnson & Johnson for the treatment of relapse remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), according to its SEC filing. The companies signed their global license and development deal in April 2023, with J&J dropping $50 million upfront and pledging up to $1 billion in potential milestone payments.

PIPE-307 is a brain-penetrant small molecule inhibitor of the muscarinic type 1 M1 receptor (M1R), which plays a key role in various brain functions such as attention, memory and sleep regulation. According to a 2021 study published in ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, and conducted by company scientists, blocking M1R in the brain could promote the remyelination of neurons while repairing nerve function in RRMS.

Contineum is currently running a Phase II study for PIPE-307 as an adjunctive treatment for RRMS. The company is also assessing the potential of the candidate in depression, for which J&J is planning to launch a Phase II study this year.

In addition to PIPE-307, Contineum will also use the IPO proceeds to advance its lead asset PIPE-791, which is being developed for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and progressive MS. In IPF, PIPE-781 works by targeting the lysophosphatidic acid 1 receptor (LPA1R), which drives cellular cascades for vascular leakage and fibroblast recruitment while reducing fibrosis.

In progressive MS, PIPE-781’s mechanism of action targets neuroinflammation and promotes remyelination, both of which are prominent disease pathways. According to Contineum’s SEC document, PIPE-781 is currently the “only brain-penetrant LPA1R antagonist in clinical development for progressive MS.”

Contineum maintains the 2024 IPO spree as the industry tries to bounce back from a record low last year. This year’s class includes CG OncologyArriVent BioPharmaKyverna Therapeutics and Metagenomi.

Source:  BioSpace