41 new U.S. stock listings by biotech companies have been registered this year, raising almost $4.3 billion. According to Bloomberg, such a huge wave of financing represents the highest dollar amount since 2000, when gene therapies caused a wave of market debuts by upstart drugmakers.
Allogene Therapeutics (ALLO) wants to get on that list by raising almost $300 million in an initial public offering (IPO) on Thursday, October 11th.
If there was ever a good example of entrepreneurship and artificial intelligence put to good use, Allogene would be exactly that. The company has made a splash since its founding in 2017, immediately after its founders, pharma veteran Arie Belldegrun, (who will own 10.9% of the company) and his longtime partner, David Chang, the CEO (who is in for 3.9%) sold their previous company, Kite Pharma. Belldegrun and Chang raised $300 million in spring, then topped it with a $120 million financing round, and now have expectations for around $300 million, which will take them to more than $700 million in 6 months.
This IPO could bring Allogene the record for 2018 in biotech IPOs, which is no small feat, considering how this year could be the biggest of the last decade. This puts Allogene in contention for one of the best healthcare startups to watch closely. Allogene is betting everything on its lead drug candidate, UCART19, currently tested in an early-stage study in leukemia. More advanced trials could be done next year, with the help of Allogene’s latest funding round.
Allogene wants to use cells from healthy donors, rather than from the patients themselves, as Kite Pharma is doing for their CART therapy, to produce ready for treatment drugs. These could be produced at a lower cost, making treatment available to more patients.
The cost is expected “to go down significantly,” CEO Chang said in June. That “will help the therapy to be made available to a much larger patient population both from reimbursement perspective as well as having the drug ready.”
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