Homology Medicines Snags $144 Million IPO
On Tuesday the company announced the pricing of nine million shares of common stock at $16. The stock will begin trading on the Nasdaq Exchange today under the ticker symbol FIXX. The initial price will be $16 per share. Additionally, Homology said it has granted underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,350,000 shares of common stock from the company at the initial public offering price.
Homology is developing a gene-editing technology that it believes is safer than other existing technologies, such as the popular CRISPR-Cas9. Homology has developed its AMEnDR (AAV-Mediated Editing by Direct Homologous Recombination) platform for rare genetic diseases.
The company’s lead therapy HMI-102 is being developed for the treatment of adult phenylketonuria (PKU), a metabolic disease caused by a mutation in the PAH gene. People born with PKU have a genetic defect that leaves them unable to break down a particular amino acid, one of the building blocks of proteins. Left untreated, the amino acid, phenylalanine, builds up in the body and causes severe developmental problems and long-term health issues. Most PKU patients maintain a strict diet to lower the amount of phenylalanine in the body. According to Homology’s website the company is looking to initiate a Phase I/II trial for HMI-102 beginning in 2019.
In addition to the PKU program, Homology has also teamed up with Swiss drug giant Novartis to develop new treatments for select ophthalmic targets and a hemoglobinopathy disease. In November 2017 the two companies struck a deal to use Homology’s proprietary gene editing technology for those indications. The two companies will use the AAV technology in a preclinical setting to engineer the viruses and develop them as treatments for the disease targets. When the collaboration was announced Novartis said the deal will center on three streams, the blood and eye disorders, as well as an exploratory stream that could be used to target other undisclosed illnesses.
Excluding the financials from the Novartis deal, which were never disclosed, before Homology’s IPO the company had raised $127 million since its 2016 launch. That includes $83.5 million in Series B funding from August of last year.
Earlier this year the company announced the move to its new 67,000 square-foot Bedford location that will provide Homology with triple the amount of space it had in its Lexington, Mass. facility.