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Poseida Therapeutics Prepares for IPO to Advance CAR-T Treatments

Xconomy San Diego — 

Poseida Therapeutics, which is testing CAR-T cell therapies for blood-borne and solid tumor cancers, has laid the groundwork for an initial public offering.

In documents filed with securities regulators Friday, the San Diego company set a preliminary IPO target of $115 million. The company has applied for a listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the symbol “PSTX.”

CAR-T therapies deploy T cells that have been engineered to kill cancer. These cells, programmed to act aggressively, have in some cases led to significant side effects, however. Results for the first two CAR-T products approved, both in 2017, have varied.

Poseida said its treatments are intended to address the challenges of early-generation CAR-T therapies, including duration, tolerability, and scalability.

The company said it plans to use the IPO proceeds to continue funding clinical development of its lead drug candidate, an CAR-T product for relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, and to continue developing its preclinical drug candidates and research. It may also use some of the money to start a pilot manufacturing facility, which would cost as much as $15 million, Poseida said in the filing.

Poseida’s lead candidate, P-BCMA-101, is in Phase 1 testing. The investigational drug is targeting BCMA, a protein found on the surface of cancerous B cells in the bone marrow. The study is funded in part by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Poseida said it plans to move the therapy into a Phase 2 trial by June.

It is also developing a CAR-T product candidate using cells from a healthy donor rather than the patient—a so-called allogeneic therapy. Poseida said it aims to make and store the candidate, P-BCMA-ALLO1, for future use. If all goes as planned, it will enter Phase 1 testing by early 2020, the company said.

Another therapy Poseida is developing, P-PSMA-101, is being developed for patients with a form of prostate cancer that continues to spread even after a patient’s testosterone levels have been significantly reduced. The company said it plans to begin Phase 1 testing of P-PSMA-101 in the second half of this year. And P-MUC1C-101, another CAR-T, is in late-stage preclinical development for multiple solid tumor cancers. That could enter clinical testing in 2020, the company said.

Even if Poseida meets its goal and raises $115 million in the IPO, eventually it will have to raise additional cash, according to the filing.

Poseida is headed by CEO Eric Ostertag. He founded Kentucky-based gene editing technology company Transposagen, which Poseida was spun out from in 2015. The company has since raised $74.8 million, borrowed $20 million, and received $15 million of a total $23.8 million awarded in grant funding from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, according to regulatory documents.

The company reported net losses of $19.7 million in 2017 and $31.5 million in the first nine months of 2018.