CAR-T developer Kyverna provides latest clue that biotech IPOs are back for 2024

Kyverna Therapeutics has become the latest example of a growing new year trend for biotech IPOs, with the company hoping that going public will help fund its two lead CD19 CAR-T therapies through the clinic.

The Gilead-backed company did not give an indication of what price the shares are expected to sell for or how much may be raised in the IPO, but did say in an SEC filing yesterday that the stock will be listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker “KYTX.”

The biotech expects to channel most of the proceeds to advancing KYV-101 through trials. The autologous CD19 CAR-T, which has origins dating back to the National Institutes of Health, is currently in a phase 1/2 trial in lupus nephritis, and the company has secured the FDA green light to begin additional mid-stage studies for multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis.

“We believe our approach may present a significant advantage over current standard-of-care therapies for autoimmune diseases by aiming to directly deplete B cells and potentially resetting disease-contributing B cells,” the Emeryville, Calif.-based company explained in the Jan. 16 filing.

Kyverna also plans to put some of the remaining money toward taking another CD19 CAR-T called KYV-201 into phase 1 trials. Unlike KYV-101, KYV-201 is an allogeneic or “off-the-shelf” therapy developed in collaboration with Intellia Therapeutics.

The biotech also referenced research-stage programs targeting other autoimmune diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, and has ambitions to move beyond CAR-Ts into regulatory T cells and novel humanized CAR constructs.

Last August, the company brought in $145 million via an extended series B funding round that saw new investors like Bain Capital Life Sciences join regular backers such as Gilead and Westlake Village BioPartners. The following month, the biotech signed a multi-year pact with Alphabet’s precision health tech company Verily that will begin by “elucidating biomarkers of treatment response” for patients receiving KYV-101 in trials.

Kyverna’s plans add further weight to PwC’s recent prediction that the IPO window will “gradually reopen” this year. On Friday, Alto Neuroscience unveiled plans to go public in 2024, following the examples of gene-editing company Metagenomi, bladder cancer-focused CG Oncology and Arrivent Biopharma, which is focused on bringing China-developed drugs to Western markets.