OvaScience, Founded by Sirtris Vets, Plans IPO

Xconomy Boston — 

Boston-based OvaScience, which is developing infertility treatments based on stem cell science, filed documents with the SEC announcing its plans to go public. According to the filing, the company intends to register 7.6 million shares that have been sold to private investors and to trade on the over-the-counter exchange.

OvaScience was founded on technology developed at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, which the company is using to develop a technique for rejuvenating eggs. The approach involves isolating a type of egg stem cells from the patient, injecting the mitochondria—essentially the power plants from those cells—into her eggs, and then adding sperm from the father. A human study of the technique, called Augment, will begin by the end of the year, according to the filing.

The founders of OvaScience include Michelle Dipp and Christoph Westphal of Sirtris, which was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline for $720 million in 2008. One of the two technologies at the heart of OvaScience was developed by Harvard professor David Sinclair, also a key member of Sirtris’ team. Dipp and Westphal are partners at Longwood Founders Fund, which is one of OvaScience’s investors.

OvaScience raised $6 million in a Series A round in 2011 and another $37 million in a Series B in April of this year. The company’s other investors include General Catalyst, BBT Capital Management Advisors, Cycad Group, Hunt BioVentures, RA Capital, and Bessemer Venture Partners.