RARE Daily

Akouos Raises $213 Million in IPO for Hearing Loss Gene Therapies

June 26, 2020

Hearing loss gene therapy developer Akouos raised $213 million in an initial public offering of 12.5 million shares of its common stock priced at $17 a share.

The preclinical biotech upsized the offering just before going public, having initially filed to sell 8.3 million shares in a range of $14 to $16 a share. Shares will trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “AKUS.”

Akouos is a preclinical biotech focused on developing precision therapies for forms of sensorineural hearing loss. The company’s first gene therapy development program, AK-OTOF, is for individuals with sensorineural hearing loss due to mutations in the otoferlin (OTOF) gene, a major cause of genetic hearing loss that affects an estimated 200,000 individual worldwide.

Normal otoferlin function enables the sensory cells of the ear (hair cells) to release a neurotransmitter in response to stimulation by sound to activate auditory neurons. Without functional otoferlin protein, auditory signals received by the ear cannot be transmitted to the brain. AK-OTOF uses an adeno-associated viral vector to deliver a healthy copy of the OTOF gene to cochlear hair cells, with the goal of restoring long-term physiologic hearing following a single administration to the inner ear.

The IPO comes just a few months after Akouos raised $105 million in a series B venture round. That funding and the proceeds from the IPO will be used to Besides advancing AK-OTOF into first-in-human clinical studies, the company is also establishing in-house GMP manufacturing capabilities, and developing several pipeline programs that address other forms of sensorineural hearing loss with well-defined mechanisms and/or gene targets.

Akouos joins a growing list of rare disease drug developers completing IPOs in 2020 in the United States. Akouos shares were up 33 percent on their first day of trading, and the ten companies in the group are up 72.7 percent on average above their IPO price.


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