5 months after launch, Allogene guns for $100M IPO

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Allogene licensed its allogeneic CAR-T pipeline from Cellectis by way of Pfizer. (Ahmad Ardity)

Arie Belldegrun and David Chang launched Allogene earlier this year with $300 million and a clutch of allogeneic CAR-T assets. Now, five months, a new chief financial officer and another $120 million later, the company has filed to raise up to $100 million in its IPO. 

The South San Francisco biotech started out with 17 off-the-shelf CAR-T assets licensed from Cellectis by way of Pfizer. Of them, only one, UCART19, was clinical stage; the other 16 had not yet been tested in humans. Allogene plans to use its IPO proceeds to bankroll its “ongoing and planned clinical trials of UCART19” and the preclinical assets ALLO-501 and ALLO-715, according to an S-1 filed Friday. It will also use the cash to build out its headquarters and clinical and commercial manufacturing facility. 

Cellectis’ CAR-T stable took the scenic route to Allogene. Pfizer acquired the global rights to the 16 preclinical assets in 2014 for $80 million up front. With $185 million per product on the line, the deal could have been worth as much as $2.9 billion. Allogene has inherited responsibility for those milestones and royalties for each commercialized product. As for UCART19, Pfizer and Servier picked that up a year later. 

Allogene and Servier are developing UCART19 for CD19-expressing acute lymphocytic leukemia in 2019. First-in-human data from a phase 1 trial of UCART19 were revealed in March and showed it was able to achieve remission in five out of six children with relapsed/refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. ALLO-501 is being developed for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and ALLO-715 is in the works for multiple myeloma. Allogene expects to file INDs for both next year. 

After creating Yescarta, the first CAR-T for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, former Kite executives Belldegrun and Chang started Allogene to work on the next chapter of CAR-T. Because these treatments are made from a patient’s own T cells, manufacturing can be complex and time-consuming. The allogeneic approach uses donor T cells, which can be stored and used “off the shelf.” 

Since launch, Allogene has recruited veteran Cowen analyst Eric Schmidt for its CFO and—just a week ago—raised an additional $120 million in private financing.