If it wasn’t enough for Cargo Therapeutics to raise $200 million and recruit a C-suite of biopharma veterans so far this year, the CAR-T-focused company is now eying up an IPO.
Despite launching in 2021, the San Mateo, California-based biotech only came into view this past March, with a $200 million series A round co-led by Third Rock Ventures. Cargo has used the money to push its autologous CD22 CAR-T therapy into a phase 2 large B-cell lymphoma trial in August.
Now, it’s set its sights on the Nasdaq. While the company has yet to specify how much money it expects to raise from the offering, a prospectus filed with the SEC shows that Cargo intends to use proceeds from the IPO to continue the phase 2 trial, along with the funding goals of fueling internal R&D and potential licensing assets.
Its lead CAR-T, dubbed CRG-022, was licensed from the National Cancer Institute and Cargo hopes the therapy can address the “significant unmet need” of patients whose LBCL has relapsed or progressed despite receiving a CD19 CAR-T. An interim readout from the phase 2 study is expected in 2025.
Beyond relapsed/refractory LBCL, Cargo is also evaluating CRG-022’s potential in CAR-T naïve LBCL patients, as well as in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Further behind in development is CRG-023, a trispecific CAR targeting CD19, CD20 and CD22 for which the company is preparing for IND-enabling studies.
Cargo is headed up by CEO Gina Chapman, who spent 15 years at Genentech. This year Chapman has recruited Chief Scientific Michael Ports, Ph.D., across from Janssen, where he served as head of cell therapy discovery and platforms, followed by Genentech alumni Ginna Laport, M.D., who was appointed chief medical officer last week.
While the icy IPO waters have thawed very slightly this year, it’s still relatively rare to see a biotech go public—especially while they are still riding high off a series A. There have been some positive stories, however, with radiopharmaceuticals-focused RayzeBio overshooting expectations last month to bring in $311 million from an IPO at a price of $18 per share.
But the risks remain, as demonstrated by Paris-listed biotech Abivax. The immunology-focused company’s share price plummeted almost 30% on Friday in the wake of its Nasdaq debut.
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