Codiak BioSciences now has $82.5 million to fund clinical tests of a new class of medicines based on exosomes, tiny bubbles formed by cells that the company harnesses to carry therapeutic cargo.
Late Tuesday, Codiak priced its offering of 5.5 million shares at $15 apiece, the midpoint of its projected $14 to $16 per share price range. Shares of the Cambridge, MA-based biotech are set to begin trading Wednesday on the Nasdaq under the stock symbol “CDAK.”
Exosomes are extracellular vesicles that function like a messaging system between cells. Laden with proteins, genetic material, and other substances, these vesicles transport molecules from one cell to another, altering the function of the cell that receives the cargo. Codiak’s technology engineers exosomes to carry therapeutic molecules, either inside the vesicle or on its surface.
The Codiak IPO comes with clinical trials now underway for two programs. A month ago, the company began a Phase 1 study of exoIL-12, which is designed to to carry interleukin 12 (IL-12), a cytokine, on the exosome’s surface. Research of the cytokine has found that while experimental cytokine therapies targeted tumors, they also had effects on healthy tissue, particularly the liver.
Codiak’s exoIL-12 is intended to limit its effects to the area immediately around a tumor. After evaluating ascending doses in healthy volunteers, Codiak says its Phase 1 study will move on to test the therapy in patients with cutaneous T cell lymphoma. Preliminary results from the first part of the study are expected by the end of this year, according to the company’s IPO filing.
At the start of October, Codiak began dosing patients in a Phase 1 study of exoSTING, an exosome engineered with therapeutic molecules on the inside of the vesicle. These molecules are intended to hit the stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway of the innate immune system to prompt an inflammatory response to cancer. This therapeutic candidate also carries an exosomal protein on the surface of the engineered exosome to facilitate uptake by tumor cells. The company plans to test exoSTING as a treatment for solid tumors. Preliminary data from the study are expected by the middle of next year.
Cancer therapies are also the focus of a partnership that Codiak started last year with Jazz Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: JAZZ). Earlier this year, the biotech began an alliance with Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRPT) focused on using the exosome technology to develop new muscle medicines.
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