At the Eleventh Hour, Harpoon Therapeutics Signs up to Join the 2018 IPO Game

Man in suit touching words on screen stating 'IPO'

South San Francisco-based Harpoon Therapeutics is looking to tap into the white-hot IPO magic that has been one of the hallmarks of 2018 for the biotech industry. The company filed its registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.

The company, which is developing a novel class of T-cell engagers, plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “HARP.” In its announcement, Harpoon said the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.

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Harpoon’s plan to list on the Nasdaq comes about a month after the company closed on a $70 million Series financing round that is intended to advance the company’s pipeline of cancer immunotherapies. Harpoon, which was formed in 2015, uses its Tri-specific T cell Activating Construct, or TriTAC, platform, to develop a pipeline of novel T cell engagers, or TriTACs, which are initially focused on the treatment of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. According to company data, it has created four TriTAC product candidates and anticipates having all four in the clinic by 2020.

Earlier this summer, the company launched a Phase I trial for its lead product candidate, HPN424, which is being studied as a potential treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Harpoon said it anticipates having preliminary data from the trial sometime in 2019. HPN424 is a 50-kD single polypeptide that contains three binding domains — for human PSMA, human serum albumin and human CD3. According to the company, HPN424 was designed to target the prostate-specific membrane antigen, or PSMA, which is present in 80-95 percent of patients with mCRPC tumor lesions.

Harpoon anticipates initiating clinical trials on its second TriTAC product candidate, HPN536, in the first half of 2019. The second candidate is being developed for the treatment of ovarian cancer and other mesothelin-expressing solid tumors. In preclinical studies, Harpoon said it observed “HPN536’s promising in vitro and in vivo activity in MSLN-expressing cancers.”

Last year. Harpoon and AbbVie entered into an immuno-oncology research collaboration. The goal of the collaboration is to incorporate Harpoon's TriTAC platform with AbbVie's research-stage immuno-oncology targets to develop novel cancer therapeutics. The collaboration was a first for Harpoon.

According to its filing with the SEC, the company posted $3.68 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2018. The company did show a net loss of $17.6 million. In its filing, Harpoon said that Citigroup and Leerink Partners are acting as joint book-running managers for the proposed offering. Canaccord Genuity and Wedbush PacGrow are acting as co-managers for the proposed offering.

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