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CAR-T therapy developer Allogene soars nearly 39% in 1st day of trading

Allogene Therapeutics Inc. priced its IPO of 18 million shares at $18 per share to raise about $324 million in gross proceeds.

Shares of the South San Francisco, Calif.-based cancer therapy developer began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol ALLO on Oct. 11. They were up by about nearly 39% to $25 per share at the close of trading Oct. 11, giving it a market cap of over $2 billion — the most for a biotechnology company since 2009, according to Bloomberg News.

Allogene intends to use the net proceeds, about $297.8 million, to advance its immuno-oncology product pipeline which includes UCART19, a chimeric antigen receptor T cell, or CAR-T, therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The company's pipeline also includes ALLO-501 for treating non-Hodgkin lymphoma and ALLO-715 to treat multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in white blood cells.

The company will also use net proceeds to expand its headquarters in South San Francisco and to pay for certain assets it acquired from Pfizer Inc. in April. Allogene will also use the proceeds for developing other new product candidates and for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

Allogene is co-founded by Arie Belldegrun — the former chairman, president and CEO of Kite Pharma Inc. — along with Kite Pharma's former executive vice president for research and development and chief medical officer, David Chang, who currently serves as president and CEO of Allogene.

Kite Pharma was bought by Gilead Sciences Inc. for nearly $12 billion in 2017.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Cowen and Co. LLC and Jefferies LLC are acting as underwriters of the IPO.

Allogene has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to an additional 2.7 million shares from the company.