On the heels of a merger and $60 million private offering, immuno-oncology biotech Compass Therapeutics is looking to go public. It filed to raise up to $50 million in its Nasdaq debut.
The funds will bankroll clinical trials for its lead program, CTX-471, an antibody that activates CD137, a receptor found on T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, Compass said in a securities filing. These include a study of CTX-471 on its own that Compass plans to wrap in the second half of 2021, as well as a second phase 1 study in combination with Roche’s Herceptin and/or Eli Lilly’s Erbitux slated to begin in the first half of next year. The company hopes to kick off a phase 2/3 study by early 2022, it said in the filing.
The IPO will also pay for the manufacturing of CTX-471 for clinical trials as well as the development and validation of manufacturing ahead of commercialization.
Beyond its lead asset, Compass will use some of the capital to support a pair of earlier-stage bispecific antibodies—CTX-8371, which targets PD-1 and PD-L1, and CTX-8573, which targets NKp30 and BCMA—as well as new R&D in bispecifics, according to the filing.
The IPO comes three months after Olivia Ventures acquired Compass in June—the combined company took on the Compass Therapeutics name along with its mission to develop immuno-oncology drugs. It picked up $60 million in a private placement at the time from several of its backers, including OrbiMed, F-Prime Capital and Cowen Healthcare Investments, as well as from new investors.
Compass’ work is based on an old technology, monoclonal antibodies, but it’s moved that approach into the fast lane.
“We have built a technology internally that allows us to drug two new targets per month and from the start of antigen-in-hand to fully human therapeutic candidate is only about two months’ time," Compass CEO Tom Schuetz, M.D., Ph.D., said in a previous interview.
"One of our founding principles was to create a company that thinks differently about monoclonal antibody-based drug discovery," Schuetz said. "In order to do that, we created a discovery platform that is quite powerful. [We're trying to] generate all the components we need to be able to drug the human immune system more effectively. This might be with multispecific medicines, or it might be with combination regimens. We're going to let the data lead us to the best therapeutics and therapeutic regimens."