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This has been a strong year for biotech, beyond heightened interest in companies developing COVID-19 treatments, with stocks of several drug developers spiking after their Nasdaq IPOs.

Reuters

Montreal cancer drug developer Repare Therapeutics Inc. increased the target size of its Nasdaq initial public offering by more than half on Monday, saying it could raise up to US$152-million.

Repare said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it will offer 7.4 million shares at US$16 to US$18 each. Its underwriters have the option to buy another 1.1 million shares. If successful, the IPO would value Repare at US$500-million-plus. Repare had revealed plans to raise US$100-million on May 29.

Repare was the first of three Canadian biotech startups to unveil plans to go public in the United States in recent weeks. In early June, Hamilton cancer treatment developer Fusion Pharmaceuticals Inc. filed a registration statement to go public on Nasdaq and Chinook Therapeutics Inc., a kidney-disease drug developer jointly based in Vancouver and Seattle, said it would merge with Nasdaq-traded Aduro Biotech Inc.

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Canada’s biotech sector has flourished recently, despite limited Canadian institutional investor interest outside Quebec. Companies raised a record $921-million in venture capital last year, while Clementia Pharmaceuticals Inc. and BlueRock Therapeutics, sold to foreign drug companies in US$1-billion deals. Three other Canadian biotechs either went public or cross-listed on Nasdaq in 2019. Lupus drug developer Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. recently filed the first new drug application in years by a Canadian firm with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after positive trials in 2019.

This has been a strong year for biotech, beyond heightened interest in companies developing COVID-19 treatments, with stocks of several drug developers spiking after their Nasdaq IPOs.

Repare is aiming to create “precision oncology" drugs that attack genetic defects in cancerous tumors, preventing toxic cells from repairing their DNA. Repare aims to get its lead drug candidate into human trials this summer. In May it struck a partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb to identify drug candidates.

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