Homology lands $144M in an upsized IPO to advance gene-editing treatment

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Instead of cutting DNA to edit it, Homology’s tech is designed to repair or knock out individual mutations, or to replace an entire faulty gene with a functional copy. (Natalie Murphy)

When it filed for its IPO in December, Homology Medicines said it wanted to raise $100 million. When it came down to it, though, Homology pulled off a $144 million offering of 9 million shares at $16 each.

The Bedford, Massachusetts-based company will start trading on the Nasdaq Wednesday, under the symbol “FIXX.”

With its adeno-associated virus (AAV) technology AMEnDR, Homology is taking a different approach to gene editing than others in the space. It takes advantage of a natural DNA repair process called homologous recombination and so, does not require an enzyme to cut DNA, the way CRISPR systems do. Instead of making snips, Homology’s tech is designed to repair or knock out individual mutations, or to replace an entire faulty gene with a functional copy.

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The company has in-house programs targeting monogenic diseases, which are caused by a defect in a single gene. It has both gene-editing and gene therapy candidates in its pipeline, including adult and pediatric phenylketonuria (PKU), metachromatic leukodystrophy and sickle cell disease, among others.

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In its S-1, Homology said it expected its IPO haul to support its activities for the next two years. This includes the topline data readout of the phase 2 trial of its lead candidate HMI-102, a gene therapy for adult PKU. The funds will also cover the nomination and development of a lead gene-editing treatment, a scale-up in manufacturing “and the expansion of our intellectual property portfolio,” Homology said.

At the time, the company also revealed the details of its tie-up with Novartis. The five-year deal includes an upfront payment of $50 million and investment in Homology’s series B round, and allows the Swiss pharma to use Homology’s tech to develop new therapies for certain ophthalmic and hemoglobinopathy diseases. Novartis is also on the hook for up to $20 million in payments when clinical candidates are selected and up to $960 million in milestones and royalties.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the correct upfront payment from Novartis. It was $50 million (with $35 million in cash and $15 million in equity), not $15 million.

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