Neon Therapeutics Plans $115 Million IPO

Published: Jun 01, 2018 By

The Abbey Group Boston Life Sciences

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Neon Therapeutics filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering (IPO). The company hopes to raise $115 million and plans to list on the Nasdaq under the NTGN symbol.

Neon Therapeutics, one of BioSpace’s Top 20 Life Science Startups to Watch in 2017, leverages neoantigen biology, a new component of immuno-oncology. Neoantigens are immune targets generated by mutations inherent in tumors. The company launched in October 2015 with $55 million Series A financing from Third Rock, Clal Biotechnology Industries and Access Industries.

On May 8, Neon announced it had treated the first patient in a clinical trial to study its personal neoantigen vaccine, NEO-PV-01 in combination with Merck & Company’s anti-PD-1 drug, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) with chemotherapy. NEO-PV-01 is Neon’s most advanced product, a personal cancer vaccine designed uniquely for each patient based on DNA mutations from the patient’s tumor.

The Phase Ib trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy of the vaccine in combination with Keytruda and a chemotherapy regimen of pemetrexed and carboplatin in patients with untreated or advanced metastatic nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It will also evaluate neoantigen-specific immune responses in peripheral blood and tumor tissue, and other markers of immune response. It is expected to enroll 15 patients with a possibility of adding more.

Patients participating in the trial will have an initial biopsy and receive chemotherapy and Keytruda. Neon will then manufacture a vaccine unique to that patient based on analysis of tumor neoantigen mutations. At week 12, patients receive the NEO-PV-01 vaccine while continuing with Keytruda.

“Treating our first patient in this clinical study marks an important milestone for Neon,” said Richard Gaynor, Neon’s president of research and development, in a statement. “We see a strong mechanistic rationale to explore the combination and sequence of a personal neoantigen cancer vaccine, anti-PD-1 therapy and chemotherapy. These data will help us understand the potential of NEO-PV-01 to improve durability and response rates of patients treated in combination with existing immuno-oncology drugs.”

According to the SEC filing, the proceeds from the IPO will be used to fund the ongoing development of NEO-PV-01 in two clinical trials, NT-001 and NT-002. It will also be used partially to prep for more clinical trials, including NT-003 and NT-004, and to fund preclinical and research programs.

They include: NEO-PV-01 in multiple clinical trials, NEO-PTC-01 and NEON/SELECT product candidates into clinical trials, development of its RECON Bioinformatics Engine, expanded manufacturing capabilities.

The company stated, “Based on our current plans, we believe our existing cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, together with the net proceeds from this offering, will be sufficient to fund our operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements.”

The company reports $62.092 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of March 31, 2018.

The filing also indicates that from its inception, it has raised $161.5 million from sales of preferred stock and convertible debt.

Other companies working in the space include Gritstone Oncology, Caperna, a subsidiary of Moderna, and BioNTech. Neon also has a clinical collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb and a research collaboration with the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI).

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