Passage Bio’s IPO Raises $216M to Fund Gene Therapy Studies

Xconomy National — 

Gene therapy developer Passage Bio priced its initial public offering at $18 per share, raising $216 million—72 percent more than it originally planned to raise.

Earlier this month Passage filed to offer 7.4 million shares, but later increased that to 10 million, then 12 million, shares that sold at the high end of its $16 to $18 price per share range on Thursday. Those shares are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange Friday under the stock symbol “PASG.”

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Passage is developing therapies intended to treat rare central nervous system disorders caused by the modification of a single gene in the body. The Philadelphia-based company has six drug candidates; its lead programs are in GM1 gangliosidosis, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and Krabbe targeting diseases. Passage has the option to license six more candidates from the University of Pennsylvania, according to an agreement.

The company says it plans to put about $43 million toward its GM1 program and funnel another $45 million apiece to its FTD and Krabbe programs. Those funds should be enough to advance each to the point that initial clinical data is available from Phase 1/2 clinical trials, according to the company’s IPO filing.

Passage has earmarked $69 million of its IPO cash for advancing its three earlier-stage programs.

Following the IPO, the company’s major outside shareholders were OrbiMed, which now owns 14.9 percent of its shares; Versant Ventures, which owns 11.3 percent, and Frazier Life Sciences, which owns 10.6 percent.

Read more about Passage, gene therapies, and its plans to enter the clinic this year here.

Image: iStock/deberarr