RARE Daily

Passage Bio Raises $216 Million to Fund Gene Therapies for Rare CNS Disorders

February 28, 2020

Passage Bio raised $216 million in an upsized initial public offering through the sale of 12 million shares at $18 a share, the top of its proposed price range. Shares of the Philadelphia-based biotech will trade under the symbol PASG.

The funding will be used to develop AAV-delivered gene therapies for its six preclinical programs targeting rare central nervous system disorders caused by mutations in a single gene, including lead programs for GM1 gangliosidosis, frontotemporal dementia, and Krabbe disease.

Founded in 2017 by gene therapy pioneer James Wilson, director of University of Pennsylvania’s Gene Therapy Program, Stephen Squinto, co-founder of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, and Tachi Yamada, venture partner at Frazier Healthcare, the IPO comes just one year after the company completed a $115 million series A financing and a research, collaboration, and license agreement with the University of Pennsylvania and its Gene Therapy Program (GTP) and Orphan Disease Center in which the GTP conducts all preclinical work while Passage Bio is responsible for clinical development, regulatory, manufacturing, and commercialization of all product candidates.

The Orphan Disease Center is responsible for natural history studies, key opinion leader engagement, and patient advocacy outreach. Passage Bio also has an option to fund the preclinical development of up to seven additional rare monogenic CNS indication programs at the Gene Therapy Program and license new intellectual property arising from these programs from Penn.

In September, Passage Bio exercised an option under its agreement with Penn’s GTP to license an experimental gene therapy program for patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Neuropathy Type 2A.

Photo: Passage Bio co-founder Stephen Squinto

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