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CRISPR Therapeutics Files to Go Public

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – CRISPR Therapeutics late on Friday filed for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it intends to sell up to $90 million of its common stock. The timing of the offering, as well as the number and price of shares to be sold, were not disclosed. Citigroup, Piper Jaffray, Barclays, and Guggenheim Securities are underwriting the transaction.

The IPO disclosure comes less than three months after the company closed a nearly $140 million Series B financing round, which included participation from research partners Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Global Investments.

Late last year, CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex formed a four-year strategic research partnership focused on genetic diseases that included a $75 million upfront payment and $30 million equity investment by Vertex. A few months later, the company formed a 50/50 joint venture with Bayer Healthcare to discover and develop treatments for blood disorders, blindness, heart disease, and other select indications, with Bayer providing up to $300 million in R&D funding over five years.

In last week's SEC filing, CRISPR Therapeutics noted that it has agreed to sell Bayer $35 million of its common stock at the IPO price.

The company was established in 2014 to develop drugs based on the genome-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9. Its founders include Hannover Medical School's Emmanuelle Charpentier, who conducted pioneering work on the technology and generated some of the field's fundamental intellectual property.

In the SEC filing for its IPO, CRISPR Therapeutics stated that it is pursuing both ex vivo and in vivo approaches in its drug-development programs. Its most advanced effort involves treating hemoglobinopathies including beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease by harvesting cells from a patient, treating them with a CRISPR-Cas9-based therapeutic, then reintroducing the cells into the patient. Earlier-stage programs that involve directly treating a patient include ones in glycogen storage disease Ia, hemophilia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and cystic fibrosis.

The company also disclosed its recent financial results, posting revenues of $1.3 million for the six-month period ended June 30. The Swiss firm's R&D costs during that time were $14.6 million, while its general and administrative expenses were $14.9 million. It recorded a net loss of $25.6 million for the first half of the year.