On the Heels of bluebird bio Collaboration, Gritstone Secures $100 Million in IPO


Emeryville, Calif.-based Gritstone Oncology hits the ground running today on the Nasdaq Exchange after raising $100 million in an initial public offering.

Gritstone, which will sell under the ticker symbol GRTS, sold 6.6 million shares of common stock at $15 per share, the company announced Thursday. Additionally, Gritstone Oncology said it has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1,000,000 shares of common stock at the initial public offering price. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, Cowen and Company, LLC and Barclays Capital Inc. acted as joint book-running managers for the offering. BTIG, LLC acted as lead manager for the offering, Gritstone said.

Gritstone, which launched in 2015, is the latest in a string of biotech companies to go public this year and the fourth this week. Gritstone follows Kodiak Sciences, Eli Lilly’s Elanco Animal Health and Lexington, Mass.-based Aldeyra Therapeutics with IPOs this week. Combined the companies secured more than half-a-billion from their IPOs.

And there are more biotech IPOs expected in the coming weeks. On Monday BioSpace highlighted five companies that will soon make the IPO plunge. The companies are Entasis Therapeutics, Urovant Sciences, Ra Medical Systems, Sutro Biopharma and New Haven, Conn.-based Arvinas. Additionally, Pennsylvania-based PhaseBio filed a prospectus for an $86 million IPO. Last week New York-based Y-mAbs Therapeutics secured $96 million through an initial public offering

Founded by Clovis Oncology’s Andrew Allen, Gritstone is making its IPO splash hard on the heels of the company’s collaborative deal with bluebird bio. Last month the Bay Area Gritstone inked a deal with Cambridge, Mass.-based bluebird to combine gene and cell therapies to target cancer. Gritstone will used its artificial intelligence platform known as EDGE to analyze specific tumor types for the collaboration. Gritstone’s therapeutic approach sequences the DNA of cancer patients in order to identify specific mutations. Then, the company chooses the makers that will act as the best neo-antigens that will be synthesized in a lab for use as an immunotherapy. Under the agreement, Gritstone will identify 10 tumor-specific targets across several tumor types. EDGE will be used to identify tumor-specific targets and natural T-cell receptors (TCRs) directed to those targets for use in bluebird bio’s established cell therapy platforms.

The collaboration with bluebird came only a month after Gritstone struck a deal with another powerhouse – Bristol-Myers Squibb. Gritstone and Bristol-Myers Squibb struck a deal to evaluate the safety and tolerability of Gritstone’s personalized neoantigen immunotherapy called GRANITE-001 paired with BMS’ checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo. GRANITE-001 includes sequential delivery of neoantigens to patients within an adenovirus-based vector (prime) and a self-replicating RNA-based vector. The combination will be explored for its potential treatment of solid tumors.

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