Codiak files for an IPO, again, this time shooting for a nine-digit raise
Second time’s the charm?
Codiak Biosciences is filing for an IPO once again, submitting paperwork Wednesday, after backing out of its previous attempt in July 2019 due to unfavorable market conditions. The company is pricing in a new raise of $100 million, up from $86 million in its initial pursuit.
There have already been four dozen biotech IPOs so far this year, netting the sector more than $11 billion.
The Cambridge, MA-based outfit is headed by the ex-Biogen research chief Doug Williams, who has about a 5% stake in the company, according to the S-1. Major investors hold the lion’s share of the stock, with ARCH Venture Funds owning 28.3%, Flagship Venture Funds holding 18.9% and Fidelity taking 14.1% of the pie.
Codiak has focused its research on a platform that repurposes exosomes as delivery vehicles for a range of therapeutic payloads, from small molecules to proteins to nucleic acids. Specifically, the biotech has honed in on a program that uses a STING pathway agonist, licensed from a French company called Kayla Therapeutics. Its lead candidate, dubbed exoSTING, overexpresses Codiak’s proprietary scaffold protein PTGFRN and is loaded with a synthetic CDN to target this pathway.
By transporting the compound directly to antigen presenting cells, Codiak hopes to harness the potential of the STING pathway while avoiding toxicity that stems from “leakage” out of the tumor. Codiak aims to use some of this new funding to conduct a Phase I/II trial, studying exoSTING in patients with advanced/metastatic, recurrent, injectable solid tumors.
Some of the money will also go toward another of Codiak’s programs, exoIL-12. The runner-up in the pipeline is engineered to facilitate tumor retention and sustained activity using the same scaffold protein as exoSTING. Money from the raise will support a Phase I trial in healthy volunteers and early stage cutaneous T cell lymphoma.
The remainder of the funds will help expand Codiak’s engEx platform, including the advancement of R&D for other preclinical and discovery programs, as well as miscellaneous corporate purposes.
Williams has led the company through several impressive fundraising rounds, collecting $162.8 million in the company’s first two years after being founded in 2017. Codiak also inked a $56 million deal with Jazz and a $72.5 million pact with Sarepta to develop the first multiple-dose gene therapy.
The exosome field is growing, however, as Codiak gained a notable competitor at the end of July, when Mantra Bio came out of stealth with a $25 million Series A. Founded by Alex Mok, Katie Planey, and Terry Gaige, the biotech is seeking to solve some of the traditional exosome problems using a computational platform to find targets, design exosomes and then build a set of them in their lab.