Jounce Therapeutics, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company, has filed an initial public offering through which it hopes to raise $75 million in 2017.
The Cambridge, MA-based company was founded in 2012 and employs a two-pronged approach to therapy development: using a translational science platform that targets a variety of cell types (both immune and nonimmune) within the tumor, as well as using predictive biomarkers to identify study populations early to shorten therapy development timelines.
Although IPO prices and specific use of proceeds amounts have yet to be announced, the filing did indicate that Jounce plans to use the IPO funds to: advance JTX-2011 through the completion of Phase I/II trial, advance JTX-4014 through the IND and initial clinical studies as a combination agent, expand its translational science platform (including T-effector cells research), and hire additional personnel.
Their lead candidate, JTX-2011, is a mAb that binds to and activates inducible T-cell co-stimulator (ICOS), a protein on the surface of certain T cells commonly found in many solid tumors. Jounce believes that JTX-2011 has a dual mechanism of action that can amplify immune response in T-effector cells while reducing response in T-regulatory cells. The company also believes that the drug can be used both as a single agent and in combination therapy, e.g., with anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) antibodies.
JTX-2011 was developed alongside Celgene in a July deal that could be worth up to $2.6 billion. Jounce submitted an IND for the JTX-2011 to the FDA in July and began a multiarm Phase I/II trial in patients with solid tumors in August.
Jounce is also conducting IND-enabling studies for JTX-4014, an anti-PD-1 antibody for use in future combinations with JTX-2011 as well as for use in combination with other future product candidates. They expect safety data from the trial by Q2 of 2017 and preliminary efficacy proof-of-concept data by Q4 of 2017.
Jounce also stated that they are investigating immunotherapy potential in adaptive and innate immune cells (e.g., B- and T-regulatory cells), immunosuppressive macrophages, and stromal cells.
J.P. Morgan and Cowen & Company are the joint bookrunners on the IPO, with Wells Fargo Securities and Baird and additional underwriters. Jounce plans to list on Nasdaq as JNCE.