Audentes Therapeutics may be eyeing IPO after a $65M crossover round

Is Audentes Therapeutics lining up an IPO? The gene therapy biotech has raised a whopping $65 million in a big round that includes some classic biotech crossover investors. And the new money comes just weeks after a small buyout and 10 months after its last venture raise.

Sofinnova Ventures and new investor Redmile Group led the round for the San Francisco-based biotech, joined by a lineup of new investors that includes RA Capital Management, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Rock Springs Capital Management LP, Cormorant Asset Management, Cowen Private Investments, and Foresite Capital. Existing investors OrbiMed, 5AM Ventures, Versant Ventures, Deerfield Management Company and Venrock also pitched in.

Officially, the money is being earmarked for its three preclinical development programs as well as work on internal GMP manufacturing capabilities.

At the beginning of September, Audentes acquired Cardiogen Sciences, grabbing a lead program for the CASQ2 subtype of catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CASQ2-CPVT) with plans to hustle it into clinical development. CASQ2 encodes a protein called calsequestrin 2, which Audentes says plays a key role "in the physiology of calcium release in cardiac muscle cells, and which is required to maintain normal heart rhythm."

In addition the biotech is working on AT001 for the treatment of X-linked myotubular myopathy and AT002 for the treatment of Pompe disease.

Developing new AAV-based gene therapies has become a popular strategy in the biotech industry. Voyager Therapeutics just became the latest in a lineup of gene therapy developers to file for an IPO, despite a turbulent stock market that has turned bearish, and Audentes may not be far behind.

- here's the release