Is Maia Biotechnology Inc. IPO a Good Buy?

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 28, 2022
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  • Focusing on targeted immuno-oncology therapies for difficult-to-treat cancers, Maia Biotechnology Inc. is ready to take the next step as a public company.
  • Maia’s flagship product is called THIO, a telomere-targeting agent that may help pivot tumors to be responsive to immunotherapy.
  • Although scientifically compelling, growth-centric biotechnology firms always present significant risks for market participants.

Amid geopolitical crises and severe equity sector volatility, sentiment for new public market debuts is understandably limited. Nevertheless, interest is gradually building, possibly boding well for targeted immuno-oncology specialist Maia Biotechnology Inc. Focusing on difficult-to-treat cancers, Maia aims to leverage its precision-based therapies to provide fresh hope for suffering patients worldwide.

Sadly, the total addressable market for cancer therapeutics is massive. According to the American Cancer Society, in this year, it projects that approximately 1.9 million people will be diagnosed with the underlying disease in the U.S. Further, an estimated 609,360 people will succumb to the condition.

The National Cancer Institute published a report that indicated that in 2019, “the national patient economic burden associated with cancer care was $21.09 billion, made up of patient out-of-pocket costs of $16.22 billion and patient time costs of $4.87 billion.” Therefore, even if one doesn’t suffer from the disease, the matter is of great concern for the country as a whole.

However, one of the biggest concerns about traditional chemotherapy is that the process is cytotoxic to most cells; essentially, brute-force methods impose a barrage against cancerous cells but they also indiscriminately take down normal, healthy cells. Killing cancer won’t mean much if the approach also kills the patient.

However, Maia is part of a growing number of biotech specialists researching and developing targeted therapeutics, specifically seeking and destroying cancerous agents while leaving healthy cells alone. Though the science is both promising and compelling, investors should realize the risks inherent in aspirational companies.

Below is a breakdown of key pros and cons to consider.

What Does Maia Biotechnology Do?

Maia Biotechnology is an oncology firm, specifically in the field of targeted immuno-oncology therapeutics for cancers that are difficult to treat using traditional approaches. The company’s flagship therapy is THIO, a telomere targeting agent.

Currently, THIO-101, which features an indication for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is enrolling in phase 2 clinical trials. THIO-102, with an indication for colorectal, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and small cell lung cancers is in the phase 2 planning stage. THIO-103, a confirmatory/definitive approval basket study, is in the phase 2/3 planning stages.

According to Maia’s amended Form S-1 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the deployment of THIO may help transform “cold” tumors into “hot” tumors, thus “rendering them responsive to immunotherapy.” Additionally, Maia brings these advantages to prospective investors.

  • Groundbreaking science: Not only do the targeted potential therapeutic properties of THIO help avoid the cytotoxicity consequence of traditional cancer regimens, research indicates that Maia’s flagship product “can restore the immunotherapy efficacy in patients who have progressed or developed resistance to prior immunotherapy.”
  • Important partnership: In 2021, Maia secured a drug supply deal with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: REGN), a company that generated significant interest because of its COVID-19 therapeutics. Here, Regeneron will provide cemiplimab — monoclonal antibody medication for the treatment of cancer — that will be used with THIO in its clinical trials.
  • Effective management: Maia features a strong executive core with extensive acumen in cancer treatment and drug discovery and development. The chief executive officer is Vlad Vitoc, MD, MBA, who has 20 years of experience in commercial strategic analysis and medical affairs, including targeted and immune therapies for more than 25 tumor types.

Finally, the company may benefit from lack of direct exposure to present economic woes. While no organization or industry is immune to financial headwinds, cancer therapeutics is an area that consistently receives institutional and governmental support because of its overriding relevance.

When is the Maia Biotechnology IPO Date?

According to the latest information, Maia Biotechnology will launch its initial public offering (IPO) — or the first time a private enterprise distributes its equity shares to retail investors — on July 28, 2022. Shares will trade on the NYSE American exchange under the ticker symbol MAIA.

Under the terms of the IPO, the Chicago, Illinois-based company intends to raise $10 million through the distribution of 1.7 million shares. The estimated price range for the securities is between $5 and $7. At the midpoint of this spectrum, Maia will command a fully diluted market value of $83 million.

Among the key opportunities for MAIA stock is a chance to participate in a potentially game-changing targeted cancer therapeutic firm, one that secured a drug supply deal with biotech stalwart Regeneron. Given the rapid-fire development and successful distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, federal regulators may be more receptive to innovative solutions.

As well, the IPO calendar, though steadily attracting newcomers, is rather barren. This dynamic is particularly pronounced when juxtaposed against last year’s barrage of new listings, which represented a record. Essentially, without much competition in 2022, Maia may be better able to compete for investor dollars that it otherwise might not be able to secure in a crowded arena.

However, the desolation goes both ways, with a lack of IPO entries pointing to significant pensiveness in investor sentiment. With the purchasing power of the dollar fading 12.92% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic through June of this year, investors must be careful where they put their money to work.

Also, with the Federal Reserve seemingly committed to attacking the inflation problem through the raising of the benchmark interest rate, the capital incentivization profile favors established value investments as opposed to pure growth-centric businesses.

What Analysts are Saying About Maia Biotechnology IPO

As an extreme small-capitalization biotech firm, Maia Biotechnology hasn’t generated much attention from Wall Street analysts. However, the few independent analysts that have weighed in discussed the potential for THIO to address NSCLC needs.

According to data compiled by BioSpace, the global NSCLC research and development market size may reach $13.68 billion by 2030. Interestingly, experts point to excessive consumption of tobacco, increase in active and passive smokers and exposure to high levels of pollution as key factors propelling market revenue growth in the NSCLC patient base.

Further, BioSpace states that this particular condition “accounts for a significant percentage of lung cancer cases across the world, and this high number has encouraged market players to focus on development of new therapies and improving efficacy of existing medicines for the disease. Lung cancer is one of the most common malignancies and results in a significant number of deaths globally. This has created a need to treat the disease and reduce mortality rate.”

However, the challenges facing MAIA stock are steep. For one thing, the aspirational nature of clinical-stage biopharmaceutical companies typically make them hit-or-miss affairs. Plus, the increasingly risky ecosystem of this year’s equity market dynamics saw many investors dump their less-than-confidence-inspiring biotech trades.

Of course, Maia may also face problems receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Indeed, management disclosed that it has “never obtained marketing approval for a product candidate.” While it could happen with THIO, the probabilities are not in favor of retail investors.

Maia Biotechnology Financial History

Maia Biotechnology is a pre-revenue company, a nice way of stating that it makes no money from its operations, only loses it. To be fair, several innovative firms are structured as pre-revenue enterprises.

Nevertheless, investors should be aware of the risks involved in such companies. Beyond the potential inability to secure additional funding, pre-revenue firms can also engage in equity-dilutive practices to raise capital. This action would then likely hurt longtime shareholders.

In the year ended Dec. 31, 2021, Maia posted a net loss of $12.6 million. In the year-ago period, it posted a net loss of $6.96 million.

On the balance sheet for the year ended December 2021, the company had cash amounting to $10.6 million. Total assets measured $11.3 million while total liabilities stacked up to $2.15 million.

Maia Biotechnology Potential

While experimental biotechs are inherently risky, the potential for MAIA stock will invariably attract at least some speculators. Primarily, the reason is that per Precedence Research, the global cancer therapeutics market size may hit or even surpass $366 billion by 2030. Within this broader cohort, the global targeted therapeutics market size could reach nearly $163 billion by 2028.

At the same time, MAIA stock is making its debut during a market cycle where investors are increasingly pivoting away from pure-growth names to value plays or passive-income generators. Inflation may not directly affect cancer research to the same magnitude as consumer goods, yet Maia and its ilk may find attracting investor dollars to be a task on par with extracting blood from a stone.

Where to Buy Maia Biotechnology IPO Stock

If you want to participate in Maia Biotechnology’s IPO, you’ll need to know how to buy stocks. But before you take that step, you must sign up for a brokerage account. Below is a list of best brokers to consider.

MAIA Stock Restrictions for Retail Investors

Review the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rules on restricted persons before participating in an IPO. Don’t engage if you have privileged information.

MAIA Stock Pre-IPO

Those interested in acquiring MAIA stock on a pre-IPO basis should open an account with ClickIPO, which provides said opportunity.

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