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Evelo IPO Raises $85M for Microbiome Drugs in Inflammation, Cancer

Xconomy Boston — 

Evelo Biosciences now has $85 million to spend on its pipeline of drugs that target the human microbiome.

The Cambridge, MA-based biotech priced its initial public offering of 5.3 million shares at $16, right at the midpoint of the $15 to $17 range it had previously set. Evelo’s shares are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Wednesday under the stock symbol “EVLO.”

Evelo is trying to address disease by targeting the gut, a central hub that plays a role in controlling immune and biological activity throughout the body. The company’s drugs consist of strains of microbes, which the company calls monoclonal microbials. Evelo says in its prospectus that it believes these microbial drugs, delivered in capsules taken by mouth, interact with immune cells as they pass through the gut.

The IPO proceeds will fund early-stage clinical trials of Evelo’s microbial drugs in inflammatory diseases and cancer. Phase 1 studies of EDP1066 in psoriasis and atopic dermatitis are already underway. Preliminary data from those studies are expected in the first half of next year. Evelo plans to start clinical testing of a second candidate, EDP1815, in the fourth quarter of this year, also for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

Evelo’s lead cancer drug, EDP1503, is slated to begin clinical testing in melanoma in the second half of this year. Data are expected in 2020. Additional cancer studies are planned for the first half of 2019. Those studies will test the drug in colorectal cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and in combination with a type of cancer immunotherapy called a checkpoint inhibitor.

Evelo was founded in 2015 in VentureLabs, the startup incubator of of venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering . Evelo, which focused on developing microbial treatments for cancer, later merged with Epiva Therapeutics, another VentureLabs company whose focus was immune and inflammatory diseases. The combined company kept the Evelo name.

Since its founding, Evelo has raised more than $150 million in equity financing, according to the company’s filing. That financing includes a $50 million Series B round of funding last summer and an $81 million Series C round in March. Flagship Pioneering and its affiliates are Evelo’s largest shareholders with a 56.3 percent stake following the IPO.

Photo by Flickr user Oregon State University via a Creative Commons license

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