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Intellia Files for $120M IPO, Inks Lucrative Collaboration With Regeneron

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Intellia Therapeutics has filed a preliminary prospectus for an initial public offering worth up to $120 million. The firm has separately announced a licensing and collaboration agreement with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals for in vivo therapeutic development with a focus on liver diseases that is potentially worth billions.

In its Form S-1, filed Monday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company said that it plans to list on the Nasdaq Global Market under ticker symbol "NTLA."

The firm has not yet priced its shares or said how many shares it plans to offer, but said it intends to use the proceeds to fund development of product candidates leading to the submission of at least one investigative new drug to the US Food and Drug Administration; development of the firm's in vivo and ex vivo pipeline, delivery technologies and the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing platform; and working capital and other general corporate purposes.

The IPO will be underwritten by Credit Suisse, Jefferies, Leerink Partners, and Wedbush PacGrow.

Intellia's latest fundraising effort was a $70 million Series B financing round in September 2015.

While the IPO is on par with competitor Editas Medicine, which planned an offering worth up to $122 million in January and netted $97.8 million, the collaboration with Regeneron could be the most lucrative CRISPR/Cas9 deal yet.

Intellia —the therapeutics arm of Berkeley, California-based Caribou Biosciences — has previously signed a collaboration deal with Novartis to develop chimeric antigen receptor T cells and hematopoietic stem cells using CRISPR, worth up to $50 million in technology access fees over the five-year agreement as well as $230.3  million in development, regulatory, and sales-based milestone payments on a per-product basis, the firm disclosed in its IPO filing.

Novartis has invested in both Intellia and Caribou.

Under the terms of the Regeneron agreement, Intellia will receive a $75 million upfront payment and is eligible to receive "significant" milestone and royalty payments on potential Regeneron products, the firms said in a statement.

Regeneron has obtained exclusive rights to discover and develop up to 10 CRISPR-based products, primarily focused on diseases that might be treated by gene editing in the liver. Regeneron may select up to five non-liver targets; however, none may correspond to those from Intellia's other collaborations or its own ongoing and planned research.

According to Intellia's prospectus, it could receive up to $3.2 billion in milestone payments: $25 million, $110 million, and $185 million in development, regulatory, and sales-based payments, respectively, for each licensed target. Regeneron has also agreed to purchase $50 million in common stock in a separate private placement concurrent with the IPO, a price per share equal to the public offering price.

The partners have agreed to co-develop and co-commercialize an undisclosed number of targets that will be generated by the collaboration.

"Our industry-leading human genetics research with the Regeneron Genetics Center is already identifying important genetic targets," Regeneron CSO George Yancopoulos said in a statement. "We believe combining these capabilities with Intellia's technology holds real promise for serious diseases that have been historically difficult to address, and expands our ability to help patients where antibody-based therapies may not be the optimal solution."

The firms disclosed that transthyretin amyloidosis will be the first target to be jointly developed and commercialized.

Intellia was founded in 2014 by Caribou and investment firm Atlas Ventures. Its scientific advisory board includes several CRISPR luminaries such as North Carolina State University's Rodolphe Barrangou, the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna, and Rockefeller University's Luciano Marraffini.