A Nano Drug Delivery IPO from Cerulean Pharma

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In a previous article, we discussed Bind Therapeutics (NASDAQ:BIND), a company developing a nano-drug delivery technology for Docetaxel, one of the most commonly used cancer chemotherapy drugs approved for breast cancer, head and neck cancer, and gastric cancer. Another company we highlighted, Oasmia (STO:OASM), is doing much the same thing. One company with a nano-drug delivery platform looking to IPO soon is Cerulean Pharma.

About Cerulean Pharma

Founded in 2006 with technology from MIT and Caltech, Cambridge Massachusetts based Cerulean Pharma has taken in over $85 million in funding so far from the likes of Venrock, Polaris Venture Partners, Lilly Ventures, and Lux Capital.  This 22 employee company is looking to raise around $74 million in their public offering and has a current deficit of $98.4 million. The company’s net loss for 2013 was $17.1 million and they have not generated any revenue from product sales nor anticipate to over the next several years. As of December 2013, Cerulean had cash equivalents of just $5.5 million.

Cerulean’s Platform

Cerulean has developed a unique nano-drug delivery platform that can deliver drugs that target tumors by taking advantage of the abnormally large pores associated with tumor blood vessels. As tumors grow, new blood vessels are formed to provide oxygen and nutrients to the growing tumor. These new blood vessels have larger pores than normal blood vessels through which the Cerulean nanopharmaceuticals can enter:

Source: Cerulean Pharma
Source: Cerulean Pharma

The nanopharmaceuticals while small enough to enter the tumor’s blood cells, are too large to then be shuttled out by the tumor cell’s transport pumps. They can then disintegrate over time while dynamically releasing the active drug payload within the tumor cell.


Cerulean’s lead product candidate is CRLX101 which through a standard injection, targets 3 cancer types with Camptothecin as its anti-cancer payload. Like Bind and Oasmia, Cerulean also has a second product candidate with Docetaxel as its anti-cancer payload. The current status of Cerulean’s pipeline can be seen below:


Cerulean also has an RNA delivery program which has produced a variety of RNA-containing nanopharmaceuticals that have shown strong potential in addressing some of the challenges associated with RNA administration. Companies such as RNAi drug developer Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:DRNA) have developed their own nanoparticle delivery systems which Cerulean may look to displace or even compliment.

The Bind Therapeutics (NASDAQ:BIND) IPO in September of last year is down about 9% from its opening price and currently trades on low volume. It remains to be seen what interest Cerulean can generate from investors for their planned public offering.


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