Gene editing startup Metagenomi files for an IPO

Dive Brief:

  • Metagenomi, a biotechnology startup working to identify new CRISPR enzymes for editing genes, has filed to go public.
  • Backed by healthcare investors and pharmaceutical firms including Novo Nordisk’s parent company and Bayer’s venture arm, Metagenomi most recently raised a $275 million Series B round. The startup is also partnered with Moderna and Ionis Pharmaceuticals.
  • The Emeryville, California-based biotech is one of at least three life sciences companies to publicly plan for an initial public offering so far this year. Should it successfully price an IPO, its performance could serve as an early barometer for the sector in 2024.

Dive Insight:

Just 19 biotech companies priced an IPO in 2023, down from 22 the year before and over 100 in 2021, according to BioPharma Dive data. Analysts at HSBC Innovation Banking, which released its 2023 report this week, found that biotech IPOs last year were mostly “driven by later-stage, established assets.”

By comparison, Metagenomi does not yet have a drug candidate in clinical trials. But its partnerships with Moderna and Ionis have led to potential programs for primary hyperoxaluria, transthyretin amyloidosis and heart disease. Those experimental medicines all take an in vivo, or inside the body, approach to gene editing, building on Metagenomi’s partners’ technologies in mRNA and RNA delivery.

Co-founded by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, Metagenomi set out with a plan to mine large datasets of microbial DNA to find new enzymes for gene editing, looking to improve the techniques with which drug developers are trying to treat complex diseases. The company said in its Friday filing it had mined billions of proteins in its database, estimating that it “resulted in the identification of over 20,000 novel genome editing systems.”

It’s also developing drugs for other diseases such as hemophilia A, as well as CAR-T therapies, one of which is part of a collaboration with Affini-T Therapeutics.

Metagenomi raised one of the largest funding rounds last year, capping its extended Series B in January 2023 with buy-in from Novo Holdings, Catalio Capital Management and SymBiosis.

Other biotechs that have joined the IPO queue in 2024 include CG Oncology, a cancer drug startup that raised a Series F round in August, and Arrivent Biopharma, an antibody-drug conjugate developer.

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