Fresh Off Its $140 Million IPO, Bellicum Lays Out Hiring Plans

Fresh Off Its $140 Million IPO, Bellicum Pharmaceuticals Lays Out Hiring Plans
February 26, 2015
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Houston-based Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today that it plans to hire 30 new staffers. It currently employs 40 people. To deal with the nearly doubling of staff, it has acquired the entire eighth floor of the Life Science Plaza, which is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.

Bellicum is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on finding and developing cellular immunotherapies for cancer, including hematological and solid tumors and orphan inherited blood disorders.

The company went public in December 2014, raising $139.65 million. It offered 7.35 million shares of common stock. The stock is currently selling for $23.89.

“We will be growing quite a bit this year,” said Tom Farrell, president and chief executive officer of Bellicum in a statement. “It’s organic growth. We have the key functional areas we need in the company, more or less a full executive team. We need to scale up.”

The company recently announced the first cohort of patients in its BP-004 trial had completed dosing. Patients were given doses of the company’s genetically engineered donor T cells (BPX-501) after receiving a partial T depleted haplo-identical allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (haplo-HSCT). In short, the company has developed genetically engineered donor white blood cells for when naturally matched white blood cells are not available.

It is a Phase I and II multi-center trial, an open label dose escalation study held in transplant centers in the U.S. and Europe. The Phase I part consists of three cohorts of three to six patients. The Phase II extension arm will test the highest tolerated Phase I dose with a maximum of 30 patients in both phases. It is enrolling pediatric patients, ages three months to 21 years, diagnosed with blood cancers, immune deficiencies, or inherited hematologic disorders.

“For hematological cancers and many orphan blood disorders such as severe primary immune deficiencies, inherited bone marrow failure syndromes, thalassemia and sickle cell disease, a hematopoietic stem cell transplant from a matched donor has resulted in a lifetime cure,” said Francesco Locatelli, lead study investigator and Full Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pavia, Rome, Italy in a statement. “But many patients lack a suitable, matched donor, eliminating this option. Making haplo-identical transplants safer and more effective could make this curative therapy available to many times the number of patients eligible today.”

The company also has another clinical candidate, BPX-201, in a Phase I trial for the treatment of metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer. It is dubbed a dendritic cell cancer vaccine. In addition, the company is working on developing a next-generation chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy and T cell receptor (TCR) therapies.

BioSpace Temperature Poll
Analyst Mark Schoenebaum, a biotech and pharmaceuticals analyst and medical doctor for ISI Group Evercore, has been running a Best Hair in Biopharma contest for several months now. So far, the candidates are Bristol-Myers Squibb Company's John Elicker, ReceptosChief Executive Officer Faheem Hasnain, Celgene's Vice President of Investor Relations Patrick Flanigan and Acorda Therapeutics' Ron Cohen.

We want to know what our BioSpace community thinks: Who do you believe actually has the Best Hair in BioPharma?

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