Taysha Gene Therapies guns for $100M IPO as it eyes 2020 clinical trial

Taysha Gene Therapies launched just four months ago, but it plans to ride the biotech wave to a $100 million IPO. It recently topped up its coffers with a $95 million series B, but, with plans to hit the clinic by the end of the year, more money can’t hurt.

Founded in 2019, Taysha uncloaked in April this year with a group of former AveXis execs at the helm, $30 million in seed funding and a partnership with UT Southwestern Medical Center that gave it access to 15 adeno-associated vector (AAV) gene therapy programs. It followed up last month with a $95 million crossover round that was tagged to get its lead treatment into clinical trials this year and tee up three more INDs by the end of 2021.

Under its partnership, UT Southwestern tackles discovery and preclinical work through IND-enabling studies, as well as clinical manufacturing, with Taysha picking up clinical development, commercial manufacturing and commercialization. Part of the series B cash will go toward a manufacturing plant for commercial scales.

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As of June 30, Taysha had $11.2 million in the bank, according to a securities filing. It picked up another $107 million in July and August through the sale of convertible preferred stock.

The lead asset, TSHA-101, is a potential treatment for GM2 gangliosidosis, a very rare disorder that progressively destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. At the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy annual meeting in May, UT Southwestern’s Steven Gray, one of Taysha’s scientific advisers, and his collaborators showed delivering the gene therapy to mice via a lumbar puncture may improve symptoms at doses low enough to avoid side effects.

Following behind are treatments for Rett syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder; SURF1 deficiency, the most frequent cause of Leigh syndrome; and a SLC6A1 genetic epilepsy, which is similar to Dravet syndrome.

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Although Taysha is initially targeting rare diseases, it plans to apply its approach to more prevalent diseases. It’s starting out with AAV gene therapies because the team knows they work—after all, this is the group that developed the gene therapy that ultimately became Novartis’ spinal muscular atrophy treatment Zolgensma.

“We essentially flew the plane and built it at the same time when we were developing AveXis … We have people with the experience of being able to develop, manufacture and commercialize a gene therapy program and we’re marrying that with a best-in-class academic research institution,” Taysha CEO and co-founder R.A. Session II said in a previous interview.