IPOs

Poseida pitches a $115M IPO on its claim that the science team has created a better BCMA CAR-T

Is there enough enthusiasm among biotech investors to push through a $115 million-plus IPO on the latest biotech staking out their claim with a new-and-improved BCMA CAR-T therapy?

Poseida Therapeutics is aiming to find that out in the very near future.

Eric Ostertag

The San Diego-based biotech filed their S-1 on a busy Friday, just ahead of the big JPMorgan confab that gets underway Monday morning in San Francisco. In it, they lay out an early snapshot on Phase I data for P-BCMA-101 targeting multiple myeloma — a familiar target in the CAR-T world these days.

According to the filing, researchers have tracked 14 clinical responses among the first 19 patients in their first human study. And they included in that ORR every sign of activity, from a complete response all the way through to a “minimal response.” They also flagged CRs in 3 of 3 patients getting the dose they plan to take into Phase II. And they downplayed some serious adverse events as likely linked to lymphodepletion, used to prep patients for the drug.

The Phase II gets underway in the first half of this year, and they’re planning to push for an accelerated approval on that study. No, the FDA has not signed off on that plan, but it wouldn’t be wildly unreasonable to expect that they might.

The rest of the pipeline is preclinical.

The way the original CAR-T works is pretty simple. You take a patient’s cell and adapt it, adding chimeric antigen receptors to direct T cells to cancer. Poseida is selling its IPO on the assertion that they’ve developed better tech to do the same job, using a DNA modification system that they say will select more memory T cells to do the work, which should make them more durable.

That’s the pitch, but they haven’t proved it yet.

Poseida is rolling ahead into a turbulent stock market, where concerns about an economic slowdown and a trade war with China have taken a heavy toll on tech stocks. Another big concern: Moderna $MRNA was not able to hold on to its lofty market valuation after going public, raising concerns that investors have grown tired of seeing too many biotechs with too little data to back up these offerings.

That environment will make this IPO and others filed recently ones to watch.

Malin Life Sciences out of Ireland has the biggest stake in the biotech, at 33%. CEO Eric Ostertag’s trust holds 15% while Titan LLC has 13.6% of the stock and Longitude Venture Partners III holds 7.7%.

Ostertag’s background includes founding Transposagen, based in Lexington, KY. That company has been working with gene editing tech and cell reengineering for year. Poseida is a spinout of that company, using much the same tech, with an eye to developing off-the-shelf cell therapies as well.


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