2nd time's the charm for Codiak Biosciences and its $83M IPO

It may have taken 18 months, but Codiak Biosciences is finally on the public markets. The exosome biotech pulled off an $83 million Wall Street debut, falling short of the $100 million it sought in September when it filed to go public for the second time.

Codiak tagged the bulk of the proceeds, nearly $60 million, to advance its lead program, exoSTING, through a phase 1/2 study in advance or metastatic, recurrent solid tumors, support discovery and preclinical R&D, and expand its engEx technology that underpins its programs, according to a securities filing. About $10 million will propel a second program, exoIL-12, through a phase 1 trial in health people and patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

The company figured the IPO proceeds, along with the cash it already has in the bank, will fund its work into the middle of 2022. Of course, that horizon may need to be adjusted as it was based on a $100 million deal.

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Long thought of as the cell’s garbage removal system, exosomes carry payloads like proteins or RNAs from one cell to another. Codiak’s engEx platform engineers drug molecules into exosomes to get drugs where they need to go. Because they are derived from human cells and released and received by nearly every cell in the body, exosomes can bypass the immune response that repels invaders.

As one might guess, the exoSTING program delivers a drug that activates the STING (stimulator of interferon genes) pathway in tumors, while exoIL-12 carries the interleukin IL-12 to ramp up an anti-tumor immune response.

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The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech emerged in 2015 with $31 million in VC funding and ex-Biogen R&D chief Doug Williams at the helm. It picked up another $61 million in a series B round just months later and, in 2017, topped that up with a $76.5 million series C.

In April 2019, Codiak was ready to hit the Street, filing to raise up to $86 million in its IPO. It withdrew that attempt two months later and refiled in September this year.