Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Penn start-up raises $74.8M in IPO to advance T cell therapies


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 30th, 2019

A University of Pennsylvania (Penn) start-up has raised $74.8 million in an initial public offering (IPO) to commercialize T cell therapies that fight autoimmune diseases.

Cabaletta Bio is advancing the first commercially available CAAR T cell products for the treatment of B cell autoimmune diseases. Its lead therapeutic program is a potential treatment for mucosal pemphigus vulgaris, a rare skin disease that causes painful blisters and sores on mucous membranes.

Penn researchers Michael Milone and Aimee Payne developed the technology and co-founded Cabaletta in 2017. Steven Nichtberger, a former Merck executive, serves as co-founder and CEO.

According to a company statement, Cabaletta has sold 6.8 million shares of common stock at $11 per share, which is below its target price of $14 to $16 per share listed in documents filed with the SEC. It has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 1.02 million additional shares of common stock at the IPO price, which would bring total proceeds up to $86 million. Shares of the firm closed Friday at $10 per share. The announcement marks Philadelphia’s first life sciences IPO of 2019.

Cabaletta’s technology involves the use of Chimeric AutoAntibody Receptor (CAAR) T cells, based on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell technology also developed at Penn and which led to the first gene therapy approval by the FDA — the Novartis cancer therapy Kymriah.

The CAAR T cells are engineered to bind and destroy only disease-causing B cells, while sparing the normal B cells that are essential for human health. During the past two years, Cabaletta previously raised nearly $90 million in two funding rounds.

Source:  Philadelphia Business Journal

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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