Fate Therapeutics, which started in Seattle six years ago with backing from Arch Venture Partners and others, has filed to raise up to $69 million through an initial public offering. The company is now based in San Diego, led by Christian Weyer who joined in October 2012.
Several of the company’s venture backers still have Seattle ties, including Arch which owns 16.8 percent and OVP Venture Partners which owns 15.4 percent. But shortly after it was started, ARCH’s Robert Nelsen noted that the company would move its headquarters location if it found a world-class CEO elsewhere. (The company moved to San Diego in 2008 after venture capitalist Paul Grayson was hired as CEO).
Having biotech companies of Fate’s potential grow and prosper in Seattle is critical to the formation of the Seattle biotech hub, a community which has experienced plenty of fits and starts over the years.
Fate, which plans to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker FATE, is losing money. It piled up a net loss of $14.2 million last year, and losses continued in the first six months of 2013 to the tune of $9.1 million. To date, it has piled up an accumulated deficit of $74.7 million, and it expects losses to continue for the foreseeable future.
Here’s more on what Fate is working on:
“Due to their natural ability to self-renew, and to regenerate and repair diseased or damaged tissue, adult stem cells hold considerable therapeutic promise,” the company writes in its SEC filing. “Based on our deep understanding of key biological mechanisms that guide the fate of adult stem cells, we have built two platforms that modulate the activity of adult stem cells using techniques that operate both outside of the body, or ex vivo, and within the body, or in vivo.”
The IPO filing marks the second this year for an OVP-backed biotech company. Seattle-based NanoString Technologies went public earlier this year, but its shares are now trading below the discounted initial offering price of $10 per share. However, they were up more than four percent in trading today, trading around $7.45.