By Derek Lowe:
Doesn’t this seem just a bit early for an IPO? In this climate?
Chris Westphal, a founder of Sirtris and a fixture of Cambridge/Boston biotech startup culture, helped to launch a company called Verastem in the middle of 2010. It’s concentrating on the role of stem cells in cancer, a very interesting field (and one that a lot of other oncology players are interested in as well). And rather to everyone’s surprise, It’s now announced that it is going public. No, there’s no compound, nothing heading for the clinic in the foreseeable future. They’re just going public, presumably because the equity markets are in such a placid, welcoming mood or something.
Their plan seems to be to develop assays based on stable populations of cancer stem cells, and then to find compounds that selectively target them and develop these into drug candidates. Each step of that process is very much