Healthcare Business

Calithera Files for IPO to Fund Cancer Tumor Therapy Projects

Calithera Biosciences Inc. filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to conduct an initial public offering (IPO). There were no terms for the offering, but it is $80 million in common stock. The company plans on listing on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol CALA when it begins trading.

Calithera is backed by venture capital firms. Delphi Ventures was listed as a 19.5% owner. Morgenthaler, Advanced Technology Ventures and Adage Capital each owned about 18%, while T. Rowe Price owned 7.2% and Wellington Management owned 6%.

The underwriters for the offering are Citigroup, Leerink Partners, Wells Fargo Securities and JMP Securities.

Calithera is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company that specifically focuses on small molecule drugs directed against tumor metabolism and immunology. These are new fields for cancer drug discovery and offer another avenue for cancer therapies. The leading product candidate at Calithera is CB-839, which acts as an inhibitor for critical enzymes in tumor metabolism.

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The company makes a few points for what its strategy will be going forward. First it plans to maximize the commercial value of CB-839 by further clinical development with a rapid regulatory approval as the goal. Calithera plans to advance its first-in-class arginase inhibitor into clinical development. Overall the company considers its strategic goals to be, “Further developing our pipeline by leveraging our expertise in tumor biology, drug discovery and clinical development.”

With this strategy in mind, Calithera plans to allocate its proceeds from this offering to specific research and development projects. Approximately $25 million to $35 million will go toward the clinical development of CB-839 through completion of Phase 2 clinical trials. Another $10 million to $15 million will go to fund the development of an arginase inhibitor program through a Phase 1 clinical trial. The remaining proceeds will be used for working capital and general corporate purposes.