Immunotherapy developer Argos takes a run at an $86M IPO

Durham, NC-based Argos Therapeutics will brave the chilly IPO waters in a stab at going public with plans to raise up to $86 million. The 14-year-old biotech was founded on technology spun out of Duke and has reportedly raised close to $160 million in venture cash and grants.

Like most classic biotechs, Argos is still engaged in clinical studies on its lead therapy and will have nothing but red ink to show investors. That kind of track record has proven to be a tough sell over the past year as the IPO window slowly opened to biotechs.

The local News & Observer says the SEC filing came without any indication of how many shares Argos plans to sell, or a possible price range. It reported a loss of $9.2 million last year. But even back in 2008, when it raised $35 million from investors, company officials said that either a merger or IPO would be necessary to complete its R&D work.

Argos is developing immunotherapies that rely on patients' dendritic cells to spur an immune response against cancer and infectious diseases. Its lead drug is AGS-003 for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma, or mRCC, with AGS-004 in the pipeline for HIV.

- here's the story from the News & Observer