RARE Daily

Kyverna Raises $319 Million in IPO to Advance Cell Therapies for Autoimmune Diseases

February 8, 2024

Rare Daily Staff

Kyverna Therapeutics, a biotech developing cell therapies for autoimmune disease, raised $319 million in an upsized initial public offering, becoming the first rare disease therapeutics developer to complete an IPO in 2024.

The company priced an upsized initial public offering of 14.5 million shares of its common stock at an initial public offering price of $22.00 per share. All of the shares are being offered by Kyverna. The gross proceeds from the offering, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses payable by Kyverna, are expected to be $319.0 million.

The strength of the financing is a welcome sign after an extended period of difficult capital markets for drug developers.

Kyverna’s common stock is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “KYTX.” In addition, Kyverna has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 2.2 million shares of common stock at the initial public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy involves modifying a patient’s immune T cells to recognize and remove B cells in the patient’s body. Kyverna’s anti-CD19 CAR T-cell therapies, KYV-101 and KYV-201, specifically target CD19, a protein expressed on the surface of B cells which is involved in various types of autoimmune diseases including lupus nephritis. These novel therapies have the potential to offer new hope to patients who have exhausted current treatment options.

KYV-101 is an autologous version of a novel, fully human clinical-stage anti-CD19 CAR T-cell construct with properties well suited for use in B cell-driven autoimmune diseases such as lupus nephritis and other B cell-driven autoimmune diseases. In a 20-patient phase 1/2 study in oncology, expected anti-lymphoma activity was associated with a significant reduction of cytokines released that translated into a strong reduction of cytokine-driven side effects, such as the rate of immune effector cells-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS).

The fully human anti-CD19 CAR also translated into reduced immunogenicity that favorably impacted cell persistence at one month. Kyverna recognized that these properties singled out KYV-101 as a product ideally poised for use in autoimmune disease patients, and the company obtained exclusive, worldwide licenses from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use this anti-CD19 construct in both autologous and allogeneic CAR T-cell therapies.

Kyverna is currently conducting two trials of KYV-101 in patients with lupus nephritis, an autoimmune disease in which more than half of patients do not achieve a complete response to current therapies and are at risk of developing kidney failure. Additional clinical trials of KYV-101 in systemic sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, and multiple sclerosis are in preparation. The company believes that the differentiated properties of KYV-101 are critical for the potential success of CAR T cells as autoimmune disease therapies.

 

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