Homology Medicines, a company trying to leapfrog existing gene editing developers, has raised $144 million in an IPO that will help fund its first clinical trials.
Bedford, MA-based Homology (NASDAQ: FIXX) priced its offering and sold 9 million shares at $16 apiece. Homology had planned to sell 7.6 million shares at $14 to $16 each. The company’s shares are expected to begin trading later today.
Homology is trying to prove that it owns a better version of existing gene editing methods, among them CRISPR-Cas9, by harnessing a natural biological process known as “homologous recombination,” which cells in humans and other species do to repair DNA damage. But Homology is developing gene therapies as well that utilize adeno-associated viruses—commonly used gene therapy delivery tools—the company has developed in-house. The startup doesn’t yet have human clinical data for its drugs.
Homology’s first target is phenylketonuria, a genetic disorder that leads to the buildup of an amino acid called phenylalanine. With the IPO proceeds, Homology will run an early stage test of a gene therapy candidate, HMI-102, in PKU in adults. Homology aims to follow up by identifying a gene editing treatment for PKU in children later this year.
Here’s more on Homology’s approach to developing drugs for genetic disorders.
Image by Depositphotos.