Magenta eyes $100M IPO to help ‘lead a new era in transplant medicine’

Coming off the back of a healthy financing round just six weeks ago, stem cell biotech Magenta Therapeutics now wants more, and it wants to go public.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, founded just three years ago, said last night that it is looking for a $100 million IPO on the Nasdaq, under the ticker MGTA.

Magenta, which came out of VC shops Third Rock Ventures and Atlas Venture, has programs focused on expanding stem cells outside the body and thereby increasing the dose that can be delivered during a transplant, headed up by ex-Novartis drug MGTA-456 in midstage clinical development, as well as mobilizing stem cells from the bone marrow to the blood and handling post-transplant complications.

The cash it hopes to raise from its IPO will go towards further work here, and will be helped by the $52 million series C it got off just last month from the likes of Casdin Capital, EcoR1 Capital, Eventide Asset Management, Watermill Asset Management, Be the Match BioTherapies and Access Industries.

And just a few months back, Magenta also penned a deal with German biotech Heidelberg Pharma to develop antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) that could be used to prepare patients to receive hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) without exposing them to the highly toxic chemotherapy-based conditioning regimens used at the moment.

Conditioning is the removal of a patient's own stem cells to make way for the new ones delivered via HSCT, and Magenta wants to see if deleting specific cell populations can do the job without taking out the entire bone marrow—which can be life-threatening.

Magenta—which was one of our 2017 Fierce15 companies—is already working on conditioning ADCs, reporting preclinical data on its lead C-Kit/CD117-depleting agent last year. But the new agreement with Heidelberg expands its position in the category.

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This year it’s also had a few moves and departures, including the loss in March of its chief operating officer Bastiano Sanna, Ph.D., with promotions for Christina Isacson, Ph.D., to chief business officer, and Tony Boitano, Ph.D., to vice president, stem cell biology, as well as Catherine Monaghan to head of clinical development operations.

Back in February, it also hired John Davis, M.D., MPH, as its new chief medical officer, a coup for the startup given that they managed to poach Davis from Big Pharma Pfizer, where he was SVP and head of early clinical development.