Codiak Biosciences is developing exosome-based therapeutics to treat diseases. Exosomes are naturally-occurring extracellular vesicles that carry proteins, genetic material, and other substances in and out of cells. Exosomes are like tiny bubbles that were originally believed to be a cellular waste product.
Instead, exosomes can also be engineered for selective targeting of particular cells (ie. cancer cells), and they can carry an array of payloads. And because exosomes are native to humans, they don’t trigger immune responses. Codiak produces its therapies by engineering exosomes to carry drug molecules, either on the surface or the inside of the vesicle. The company’s proprietary technology is called engEx platform.
The company says that it can produce pharmaceutical-grade therapeutic exosomes at scale.
Today there are no approved exosome-based therapeutics, the company’s prospectus said.
In September, Codiak began clinical trials for its leading candidates, exoSTING and exoIL-12, which aim to treat solid tumors. The exoSTING exosome is engineered to carry molecules inside the vesicle that are intended to produce an anti-tumor immune response by hitting the stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway of the patient’s own immune system. Avoiding toxic side effects to healthy cells is key, Codiak says in its filing.
Like most early-stage biotechnology companies, Codiak is not profitable. The company reported a $38.4 million loss for the six months ended June 30 based on $321,000 in revenue. The company has 101 full-time employees.
Arch Venture Partners owns 19.47% of the post-IPO company, while Flagship Pioneering owns 13.14%. Fidelity Investments holds 10.41%. The Board of Regents of the University of Texas System, on behalf of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, owns nearly 5%.
Image source: Codiak Biosciences
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