Selecta's IPO Expected Next Week; Sixth Biotech in Massachusetts to Go Public This Year

Published: Jun 20, 2016

Selecta Biosciences’ IPO Expected Next Week; Sixth Biotech in Massachusetts to go Public This Year June 20, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Watertown, Massachusetts - Selecta Biosciences, which filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on May 24 to hold an initial public offering (IPO), plans to go live next week. That would make it the sixth biotech company in Massachusetts to go public this year, and the seventh health care company.

Selecta was founded in 2008 by MIT bioengineer Robert Langer, along with Omid Farokhzad and Ulrich von Andrian, both of Harvard Medical School, to commercialize their work on polymer nanoparticles. The goal was to develop vaccines using nanoparticles.

On May 13, 2015, the company announced that Paris-based Sanofi had exercised an exclusive licensing options, which made the company eligible for up to $300 million for its celiac disease program. The company has partnerships with Genethon, JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Skolkovo Innovation Center.

What seems to be attracting the most attention is the company’s lead product for refractory and chronic tophaceous gout. On Dec. 23, 2015, the company dosed its first patient in its Phase Ib clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of SEL-212 for gout. It was developed with the company’s proprietary Synthetic Vaccine Particle (SVP) platform, and is the first non-immunogenic version of uricase, an enzyme that metabolizes uric acid.

And on May 19, Selecta announced that it had licensed Anc80 from Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Anc80 is an in silico designed gene therapy vector, and has shown indications it has better gene expression levels in the liver compared to the more standard adeno-associated viral vectors (AAVs) that are currently in use.

The company has indicated that it expects 4.25 million shares of common stock will be priced between $14 and $16 per share. Of the amount raised, it plans to use about $23 million to support clinical development and manufacturing of SEL-212. Another $10 million will be used to launch a Phase I trial of its gene therapy program.

The mid-point of the range at that volume is about $64 million. As of March 31, the company indicated it had about $26 million in cash available. The stock will be listed on the Nasdaq under the symbol “SELB.”

Underwriters of the IPO are UBS Investment Bank and Stifel, with co-managers listed as Canaccord Genuity and Needham & Company.

The company has a fairly broad pipeline, although much of it is in the discovery stage. Its gout program is the most advanced. In addition, it is doing gene therapy work with food allergies, celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes, and prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines in smoking cessation, which appears to be well into the preclinical stage, HPV-associated cancer, and malaria.

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