As it prepares to bring a new CAR-T therapy to China, JW Therapeutics, a joint venture established by Juno Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle (now part of Bristol Myers Squibb Co.), and WuXi AppTec in 2016, has pulled off a $300 million Initial Public Offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The IPO backed by Goldman Sachs, and UBS comes after JW Therapeutics completed a $100 million series B in June and $90 million series A in 2018. The biotech company listed about 40% of the funds for relmacabtagene autoleucel (relma-cell), an anti-CD19-CAR-T-therapy it is developing for refractory or relapsed B-cell lymphoma, according to a report with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Chinese regulators announced a speedy review into the drug’s regulatory filing and announced in September.
Another 34% of the proceeds are intended to support the ongoing R&D of other candidates, including JWCAR-129, JWATM-203, JWATM-204, and NEX-G. The company will also use 16% of the proceeds to license promising assets to expand its pipeline.
“Listing on HKEX marks a very important milestone for JW Therapeutics,” said CEO James Li. “With a cutting-edge technology platform and research capabilities, we look forward to continuing to invest in driving the full-scale commercialization of our core product candidates, advancing and expanding our pipelines, and enhancing our manufacturing and supply chain through innovation and scale. We are developing a set of new technologies and platforms to enable the next-generation CAR-T product and manufacturing processes with shorter production cycle time, higher quality, better product characterization, and improved product efficacy and safety, at a lower cost.”
The firm's hopes for profit are riding on relma-cel, as it raked $94.63 million losses in 2019. However, the company is looking into the possibilities of developing relma-cel as a therapy for other indications, such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
In furtherance to delivering its mandates, JW Therapeutics has already collaborated with U.S.-Taiwanese biotech firm Acepodia on cell therapies for solid tumors and blood cancers, as well as Lyell on treatments for solid tumors and Eureka on cell therapies for liver cancer.