Precision BioSciences has joined the club of publicly traded gene editing biotech companies, raising $126 million in its stock market debut.
On Wednesday evening, Durham, NC-based Precision Bio sold 7.9 million shares for $16 apiece, which was right in the middle of its targeted price range. Those shares are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange Thursday under the stock symbol “DTIL,” which the company says stands for “dedicated to improving life.”
Much of the attention in gene editing has focused on CRISPR technology. CRISPR uses an enzyme to make cuts in the genome, which in turn allows the DNA to be edited. Editas Medicine (NASDAQ: EDIT), Intellia Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NTLA), and CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CRSP) are each therapies based on this particular gene-editing technology.
Precision Bio’s proprietary technology is called ARCUS. The company says in its IPO prospectus that ARCUS reprograms a gene-editing enzyme called I-Crel, which is found in algae. Precision Bio contends that its technology has advantages compared to CRISPR and TALEN, another gene-editing technology. Precision Bio CEO Matt Kane has described ARCUS as being both flexible and more precise, which avoids “off-target” effects on other genes that can happen with other technologies.