CG Oncology plans IPO plunge ahead of phase 3 bladder cancer drug readout

Five months after reeling in $105 million from a pre-IPO crossover round, CG Oncology is now ready to take the plunge and go public.

The company has yet to reveal an estimate for how much the shares will sell for as part of the planned Nasdaq listing, but disclosed in an SEC filing that the stock would trade under the ticker ‘CGON’.

California-based CG is focused on developing cretostimogene grenadenorepvec, an oncolytic adenovirus encoding immunohematopoietic cytokine granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF). The candidate is designed to infect and replicate in tumor cells, directly killing them while also causing the release of tumor-derived antigens and GM-CSF to stimulate an immune attack. CG has initially been developing the candidate as a treatment for non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC).

The biotech reported interim data from a phase 3 trial back in November that suggested a 75% complete response rate, and said in the Jan. 2 filing that a topline readout is expected by the end of 2024. CG is also assessing cretostimogene—which bagged fast track and breakthrough tags from the FDA last month—in another phase 3 trial for NMIBC patients who have had a bladder tumor removed, as well as a phase 2 study in combination with Keytruda.

CG’s use of an oncolytic virus to treat BCG-unresponsive NMIBC has drawn comparisons with Ferring, which won approval for an adenovirus vector-based gene therapy in the tumor type in late 2022. The Ferring product, Adstiladrin, differs in that it encodes interferon alfa-2b, turning bladder cells into interferon factories.

Despite an icy IPO market last year, CG made no secret of its ambition to go public as far back as August. The company was one of the few that opted for a pre-IPO crossover funding round last year, a financing model that proved popular during the biotech boom years.

CG is now in the running to be among the first biotech IPOs of the new year, against a backdrop of mixed predictions on whether public listings will recover from their two-year slump.