AlloVir Raises $276 Million in IPO to Advance Cell Therapy Programs
Cambridge, Mass.-based AlloVir raised $276 million in an upsized initial public offering. The funds will be used to advance the company’s efforts to develop an allogeneic cell therapy to control infections in immunocompromised patients.
Shares of AlloVir began trading on the Nasdaq exchange Thursday. The initial public offering was at $17 per share. The company stock closed at $23.59 per share on its first day of trading. The stock is trading under the ticker symbol ALVR.
AlloVir, formerly known as ViraCyte, is developing allogeneic, off-the-shelf virus-specific T Cell (VST) therapy candidates targeting 12 devastating viruses, including COVID-19. AlloVir collects blood from third-party donors whose T-cells have been exposed to viruses. The company then grows those cells in its laboratory to develop its antiviral therapy. Instead of performing a type of genetic engineering on the T-cells, AlloVir searches for donors whose immune system has been exposed to the corresponding viruses and then using a screening process to identify bone marrow donors. AlloVir then gives the T-cells to patients who are a match in order to kill the virus without harming the healthy cells.
Funds from the IPO will be used in part to advance the company’s lead clinical product through late-stage development and potentially to commercialization. AlloVir’s lead product is Viralym-M, an allogeneic, off-the-shelf, multi-virus specific T-cell therapy targeting six common viral pathogens in immunocompromised individuals: BK virus, cytomegalovirus, adenovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, human herpesvirus 6, and JC virus. Viralym-M is aimed to begin Phase III in three different indications in immunocompromised patients post allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant who have complications that have been linked to cytomegalovirus, adenovirus and virus-associated hemorrhagic-cystitis. In a Phase II proof-of-concept study, Viralym-M hit the mark. More than 90% of patients who failed conventional treatment and received Viralym-M, demonstrated a predefined criteria for a complete or partial clinical response, most with complete elimination of detectable virus in the blood and resolution of major clinical symptoms, the company said.
In addition to the Phase III trials, AlloVir intends to begin three Phase II studies with Viralym-M as a preventative treatment for multi-virus infections in HSCT patients, and the treatment of BK and cytomegalovirus in kidney and solid organ transplant recipients.
AlloVir will also use some of the funds to advance some preclinical assets into Phase I studies, including ALVR106 and ALVR109, a potential treatment for COVID-19. In March, AlloVir and its development partner Baylor College, announced plans to expand their development program to include COVID-19. With AlloVir’s proprietary technology, in addition to targeting SARS-CoV-2, the investigational virus specific T-cell therapy may also address other coronavirus (CoV) strains including SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and also the endemic CoVs that commonly afflict immunocompromised patients. AlloVir aims to develop a therapy for CoVs that can be used as a stand-alone treatment or incorporated into the company’s multi-respiratory virus investigational therapy, ALVR106, which is designed to address other devastating and life-threatening community-acquired respiratory viruses, the company said.