Aduro Biotech has parlayed the potential of its experimental cancer treatments into an initial public stock offering that values the company at about $1 billion. The high valuation comes with high expectations. The Berkeley, Calif.-based company is currently in midstage clinical trials with an experimental treatment for pancreatic cancer. It’s one of a growing number of oncology companies taking an immunotherapy approach – harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight off cancer.
Aduro is taking a two-pronged approach to pancreatic cancer, with two immunotherapies that are intended to work together, Fiercebiotech explains. Aduro has already secured breakthrough-therapy designation from the Food and Drug Administration, status reserved for experimental drugs with few, if any, treatments available. As a potential breakthrough therapy, Aduro’s drugs will get a speedy review from the FDA, plus access to FDA staff helping the company through the regulatory process. That means that if the drug improves overall survival in cancer patients, the drug will move quickly through what is ordinarily a long review process.
The progress that Aduro has made in immunotherapy so far has won the confidence of two big pharmaceutical companies, according to Xconomy. Last year, Johnson & Johnson licensed rights to Aduro’s experimental therapies in prostate cancer, and lung cancer, among other cancers. In March, Novartis entered a partnership with Aduro in March that would give the Swiss company a share of a separate immunotherapy cancer program that does not yet have a cancer target. But it’s still early for this program. So far, Aduro has only tested this approach in pre-clinical studies.
Aduro’s multiple approaches to cancer now have the financing to see them through clinical trials. The IPO raised about $119 million, which the company says it will apply toward the drug trials. And if those trials prove successful, it already has two ready partners in Johnson & Johnson and Novartis ready to bring those drugs to a cancer market awaiting new therapies.
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