Arcus Biosciences eyes $100M IPO

Arcus Biosciences is working on small-molecule and immuno-oncology approaches with the goal of creating combo treatments for cancer. (Natalie Murphy)

Mere months after bagging $107 million in its series C round, Arcus Biosciences is teeing up for a $100 million IPO.

The series C funding was slated to advance its lead programs—AB928, a first-in-class dual adenosine receptor antagonist, and AB122, a PD-1 antibody—and to carry “at least two” additional drugs into the clinic.

As for its IPO cash, it will enable the immuno-oncology player to fund clinical studies for AB928 and AB122 into 2020, but not support the candidates through regulatory approval, according to an S-1 filed Friday.

AB928 and AB122 are both in phase 1 trials, which are expected to read out this year. The former will enter a phase 1/2 study in the second quarter, and a treatment combining the two is also on deck for phase 1/2.

The Hayward, Calif.-based biotech counts Google Ventures, Aisling Capital and Celgene among its backers and emerged from stealth in August 2016 with $120 million already in the bank. Its strategy is to develop small molecules and immuno-oncology therapies with the eventual goal of creating its own combo treatments.

RELATED: FierceBiotech's 2016 Fierce 15 - Arcus Biosciences

“Everyone knows that combinations are important, but it’s become apparent that in immuno-oncology it may be advantageous to own or control parts of the combination,” Arcus CEO Terry Rosen told FierceBiotech when Arcus was named a Fierce 15 winner in 2016.

Shortly before its series C raise, Arcus bolstered its cancer immunotherapy pipeline with an exclusive licensing deal potentially worth $816 million. The company handed over $18.5 million up front for the European, North American and Japanese rights to a PD-1 antibody developed at China’s Gloria Pharma and WuXi Biologics. Arcus plans to test the drug, GLS-010, in 11 cancer combo treatments.