Gritstone bio secures PIPE funding as it discloses PhI data for vaccine candidate – Endpoints News

Gritstone bio secures PIPE funding as it discloses PhI data for vaccine candidate – Endpoints News

California biotech Gritstone bio was granted an $80 million credit facility this summer, following the trend of more biotech companies extending cash through loans. Now the biotechnology is making another financial move as it lifts the coverage of some vaccine trials.

In an announcement on Tuesday, the company is moving forward with a “securities purchase agreement” to sell over 6.6 million shares in a PIPE financing, potentially netting the biotech about $45 million. The transaction is expected to close on 27 October.

Gritstone said in a statement that it will use the money to fund the “ongoing clinical development of its oncology and infectious disease” candidates as well as for other purposes. While working on candidates in the HIV and tumor space, Gritstone is focused on two candidates to counter SARS-CoV-2.

The move comes as it cautiously pulls back the curtain on early Phase I results for its ongoing trials of its “self-amplifying” mRNA (samRNA) vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2. The two trials, titled Coral-Boost and Coral-Cepi, examined subjects in the UK and South Africa respectively.

Although no hard data was reported, Gritstone comes in to claim a victory for the candidates. It reported that both candidates had a “favorable safety and tolerability profile” at the given dosage amounts. The result for Coral-Cepi had a strong contrast to most varieties such as wild types, Beta and Delta.

The Coral-Boost candidate, which was studied in patients over the age of 60 who received two doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, had a strong response against several variants including Beta, Delta, Omicron BA.1 and BA.4/5. It also had a T-cell response that lasted between four weeks and six months.

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“These results demonstrate good immunogenicity and tolerability at low doses, with preliminary durability data supporting the potential of samRNA as a differentiated approach for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses and pathogens, where much unmet need remains,” said Gritstone’s CEO Andrew Allen. in a statement.

All the good news boosted the $GRTS share price by over 7% when the markets opened, but the company still has a mountain to climb as it faces an 80% drop since January of this year.

Earlier this year, it received an $80 million credit facility from Hercules Capital and Silicon Valley Bank, drawing an initial $20 million with an additional $10 million available for withdrawal by March 15 next year. The remaining $50 million will become available in tranches through June 15, 2024, as Gritstone achieves certain unspecified milestones.

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