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Cargo Therapeutics Looks to Raise $110M in Private Placement

NEW YORK – Cargo Therapeutics on Tuesday said it hopes to raise $110 million through a private placement equity financing, which it will use to prepare a biologics license application (BLA) for its autologous cell therapy firicabtagene autoleucel (firi-cel). 

Under the securities purchase agreement for a private investment in public equity financing, slated to close on May 30, Cargo is selling 6,471,000 shares of its common stock at $17 per share. New and existing investors participated in the financing, including EcoR1 Capital, Woodline Partners, Saturn V Capital, Opaleye Management, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Novo Holdings, Perceptive Advisors, RTW Investments, Samsara BioCapital, Wellington Management, Ally Bridge Group, Third Rock Ventures, and an undisclosed large investment manager. 

The firm is evaluating firi-cel, also called CRG-022, in a potentially pivotal Phase II clinical trial in advanced, relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma patients who have already received CD19-directed CAR T-cell therapies. Firi-cel is designed to target CD22 on the surface of cancer cells, and Cargo believes it could address the constraints of approved cell therapies such as their limited durability and safety concerns. 

Going forward, San Carlos, California-based Cargo expects to evaluate firi-cel in earlier-stage hematologic cancers. The firm is also developing CRG-023, a tri-specific CAR T-cell therapy with a CD2 costimulation element. Cargo will develop that therapy, designed to target CD19, CD20, and CD22 simultaneously, in various B-cell malignancies. Currently, CRG-023 is undergoing investigational new drug-enabling preclinical studies. 

According to Cargo, the private placement will extend its cash runway through 2026. "This financing will be key in supporting BLA preparations [for firi-cel] in addition to advancing our CRG-023 program, which is … designed to overcome multiple mechanisms of resistance," Cargo President and CEO Gina Chapman said in a statement. 

Jefferies, TD Cowen, and Piper Sandler are joint placement agents for the private placement.