Gene editing expert Homology details the numbers in its back-ended $1B Novartis deal, files for $100M IPO

CEO Arthus Tzianabos

Late Friday Homology Medicines joined the list of biotechs crowding into a hot IPO market, filing for a $100 million offering. And we got a look under the hood at the numbers involved in the collaboration deal it struck recently with Novartis.

Their SEC filing notes that Novartis $NVS paid $35 million in cash plus another $10 million in equity to sign on with Homology, which is exploring ophthalmic targets and hemoglobinopathy disease targets (a set of genetic blood disorders; one such is sickle cell disease) for the pharma giant’s early-stage research group, NIBR.

The pact comes with $960 million in milestones for longterm success, including a $5 million bonus for each of up to 4 programs that meets the benchmark for success.

Homology’s claim to fame in the gene editing world is that it is avoiding CRISPR and moving ahead with an AAV approach that uses viral vectors to transport snippets of corrected DNA that can eliminate disease-causing mutations. It makes considerable sense to start with the eye, a tightly contained unit that has attracted a number of pioneering gene therapy programs.

Everything is happening faster in biotech these days, so it’s no big surprise that Bedford, MA-based Homology is floating its IPO ahead of any human data. The S-1 makes clear that the biotech is still prepping an IND for its lead drug for phenylketonuria, or PKU. But the team is promising data from a Phase I/II study next year, hoping to build on the preclinical evidence of success that it has now from mouse studies.

CEO Arthus Tzianabos earned a $2.4 million pay package last year, built on a $422,300 annual salary and $1.8 million in stock option awards.

Homology has raised $137 million from a syndicate that now includes 5AM Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, Deerfield, Temasek, Fidelity Management & Research, or FMR, Novartis, Rock Springs Capital, VIVO, HBM Partners, Maverick and Vida.

5AM owns the biggest chunk of stock, with 24.8%, while Arch is in for 22.4%.

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