Allogene Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering the development of allogeneic CAR T therapies for cancer, announced that it completed a $120 million private financing of Convertible Notes.
According to the company, “Allogene is advancing its allogeneic CAR T cell portfolio, which includes rights to 16 preclinical CAR T cell therapy targets and U.S. rights to UCART19, an allogeneic CAR T cell therapy candidate that is being developed for the treatment of CD19-expressing hematological malignancies. In partnership with Servier, UCART19 is in Phase 1 development for the treatment of relapsed/refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).”
Interestingly, Allogene notes that investors in this financing round were mostly first-time investors with the company.
Previously in April 2018, Allogene Therapeutics had entered into an asset contribution deal with Pfizer, as well as announced a $300 million Series A round. As a result of the asset agreement, Pfizer holds a 25% ownership stake in Allogene Therapeutics.
CAR-T Funding Frenzy
CAR-T funding is on the rise. At first the trend was subtle, but the tide swelled as CAR-T therapies like Kymriah and Yescarta reached the marketplace and created a CAR-T funding craze. CAR-T start-ups have been richly funded by investors eager to get into this trending area of regenerative medicine. IPO raises have also been aggressive.
Following IPOs by CAR-T players Kite Pharma, Bellicum, Juno and Cellectis totaling over $750 million, CAR-T developer Autolus announced a $150 million IPO in June 2018.
This brought the total value of recent CAR-T IPOs to nearly $1 billion.
Who is Allogene Therapeutics?
Led by former Kite Pharma executives, Allogene is headquarters in San Francisco, California. It is a Two River portfolio company that was formed as a result of one of the largest Series A financings in the biotechnology industry at $300 million.
The company’s initial funding was provided by TPG, Vida Ventures, BellCo Capital, the University of California Office of the Chief Investment Officer and Pfizer, among others.
As mentioned, the Allogene portfolio includes 16 pre-clinical T cell therapy assets and UCART19, an allogeneic CAR T therapy currently in Phase 1 development for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
CAR-T Cell Therapy Products
Two CAR-T products are available in the market. The first one, Kymriah (Tisagenlecleucel) by Novartis, was approved by U.S. FDA in August 2017. It was approved to be used in children and adults with ALL. On May 1, 2018, FDA approved Kymriah for a second indication (diffuse large B-cell lymphoma).
The second CAR-T product, Yescarta (Axicabtagene ciloleucel) by Kite Pharmaceuticals, was approved by FDA in October 2017 for patients with lymphoma.
In August 2018, both Kymriah and Yescarta secured approval in Europe, indicating the willingness of European regulators to usher in a new age of regenerative medicine
In September 2018, Health Canada approved Kymriah as the first CAR-T therapy to receive regulatory approval in Canada.
While the CAR-T funding frenzy has been aggressive, these global product approvals suggest enormous promise for the industry.
Learn more about Allogene
To learn more, view the recent press announcement by Allogene: Allogene Therapeutics Completes a $120 Million Private Financing
What questions do you have about CAR-T investments, financing rounds, and IPOs? Ask them in the comments below.