The oncology drug developer, backed by Bristol Myers Squibb, secured close to $144m in its IPO. This is an exit from a space that has seen much corporate support over the past decade.

US-based cancer therapy developer Ikena Oncology, which counts pharmaceutical firm Bristol Myers Squibb among its backers, closed its IPO at almost $144m. It issued more than 7.81 million shares priced at $16.00 each, which doubled in price to $32.00 by the end of the first day of trading. The price has fallen back to roughly $18 since, giving it a market capitalisation of around $655m.

Founded in 2016, Ikena is developing cancer treatments designed to target key signalling pathways that drive the formation and spread of cancerous cells. Its biomarker-driven cancer drugs are focused on a target in the KRAS signalling pathway, which is connected to KRAS mutations, which it claims are present in some 30% of cancers, particularly in pancreatic, lung and colorectal cancer. Proceeds from the IPO will support phase 1 or 1b clinical trials for four drug candidates.

The company is part of the larger cancer treatment and oncology space, which has received much attention from corporate venture investors, as shown on the GCV Analytics chart below. The number of rounds in such emerging businesses reached an all-time high at 112 by the end of last year, having grown from merely 17 in the beginning of last decade. The total estimated capital committed in such rounds rose as well, hitting $6.71bn – up over 10 times from the estimated $606m in 2011. Just during the first three months of 2021, we have already tracked 53 deals in the oncology space, worth and estimated $3.04bn. This growth may undoubtedly translate into further exits in public markets in the near future.