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Heat Biologics Seeks More Cash for Bladder Cancer Immunotherapy Push

Xconomy Raleigh-Durham — 

Cancer drug developer Heat Biologics is looking to raise $12.5 million through a stock offering as the company continues mid-stage clinical trials for its bladder cancer immunotherapy.

Durham, NC-based Heat (NASDAQ: HTBX) disclosed the plans in a securities filing, but the company did not say how many shares it will sell, nor did it set a price or a date for the offering. The plans come less than a year after completing a $12.2 million stock offering.

Cancer immunotherapy involves prompting the body’s immune system to recognize and fight cancer cells. Heat aims to trigger that immune response by introducing antigens that share the characteristics of cancer cells. The company calls its platform technology Immune Pan-Antigen Cytotoxic Therapy, or “ImPACT.”

Heat says it plans to use proceeds from the stock sale to continue funding its Phase 2 trial of HS-410, its cancer immunotherapy for bladder cancer. In October, Heat said it had completed enrollment in the 75-patient trial. That study is evaluating HS-410 in combination with bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine, a decades-old tuberculosis treatment that is also the standard of care for early-stage bladder cancer. The main goal of this trial is one year of disease-free survival.

Heat also plans to evaluate how HS-410 works on its own in a study enrolling an additional 25 bladder cancer patients. The company has said that the results of the two Phase 2 studies will help determine whether to develop HS-410 as an additional measure to the standard of care, or as a potential replacement.

In filings, the company said it will use some of the capital to prepare for its Phase 3 in bladder cancer. The stock offering will also help fund late-stage trials for HS-410 and a Phase 1b trial of another Heat immunotherapy, HS-110, in non-small cell lung cancer. The company plans to evaluate HS-110 in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (NYSE: BMY nivolumab (Opdivo).

Heat needs the capital as it ramps up spending. According to its third quarter financial report, the company’s clinical and regulatory expenses totaled $9.2 million through the first nine months of 2015, a 188 percent increase over the same period in 2014. Through the end of the third quarter, Heat reported just $8.2 million in cash and cash equivalents.

 Image of healthy T cell courtesy of NIAID via Creative Commons license.