Immunocore is the latest to nab a private placement, securing $140M to pursue more TCR R&D
Looking to secure a fresh raise to invigorate R&D, Immunocore is putting together a PIPE.
The former Medigene spinout, six months after the FDA approved its TCR drug tebentafusp, put out word Monday that it’s selling just over 3.7 million shares of company stock at $37.50 each. This is going to certain investors as a PIPE financing for a total of $140 million.
Shares of $IMCR stayed consistent in premarket trading, only sliding down half of 1% after closing at $43.25 a share Friday afternoon.
Different investors that jumped in on the round included RTW Investments, LP, Rock Springs Capital, and General Atlantic. The financing is slated to close sometime Wednesday, Immunocore said in a statement.
The news comes amidst a growing trend of biotechs seeking private placements as bears continue to close the market’s window for follow-on rounds. Earlier this month, a triumvirate of companies — Annexon, Provention Bio and Nurix Therapeutics — put together private placements in the span of 24 hours, and Faseem Hasnain’s Gossamer Bio channeled its efforts into a placement of its own last week.
CEO Bahija Jallal tells Endpoints News that accelerating the company’s pipeline is something that is “always on our radar,” and that the focus will be on developing candidates for more indications in cancer, including in solid tumors and in infectious diseases. So far, the biotech has two candidates in infectious disease: one for HIV and one for HBV.
“We’re very happy with where we are,” the CEO said.
The proceeds will also be used for working capital and “other general corporate purposes,” a press release said. The runway for that $140 million is going to last the company well into 2026, Jallal added.
Immunocore has been around for years, working to create a next-gen cancer treatment since its 2008 spinout. It got revitalized after a massive 2015 Series A led by ex-CEO Eliot Forster, who then went on to run I/O biotech F-star Therapeutics after leading the company towards $320 million. After Forster left, investors turned to current CEO Jallal, an ex-AstraZeneca vet who once ran MedImmune, to bring the biotech past the regulatory finish line.
Other biotechs are treading forward in the TCR space, such as the Cambridge, MA-based TCR2 Therapeutics, the recently launched Affini-T and Immatics, which recently expanded its 2019 deal with Bristol Myers Squibb.
Immunocore’s approved drug, branded and launched as Kimmtrak, was essentially a proof of concept drug, according to Jallal — showing that TCR therapies could work and being the first TCR drug to pass FDA scrutiny. Early in 2021, the FDA gave the then-drug candidate breakthrough therapy designation, followed by a priority review several months later.