How Durham life science startup Shattuck Labs is revolutionizing cancer therapy

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Just a mile down the road from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Shattuck Labs is changing the face of cancer therapy.

And the investment community is stepping up to help it succeed.

Shattuck made its market debut on the NASDAQ October 9, joining a crowd of biotech companies entering  the IPO market. As of September 30 there were 52 IPOs in the space, valued at $14.1 billion, according to Dealogic.

Shattuck is a clinical-stage life science company treating cancer and other autoimmune diseases.  Its two locations, in Durham and Austin, employ 50 people, two-thirds of whom call the Triangle their home.

Shares of Shattuck (ticker: STTK) soared nearly 35% on its first public day, opening at $22.10 and hitting a high of $22.90. The stock has subsequently bounced as low as $17.51.

The solid debut came a day after Shattuck increased the size of its deal, according to a statement. The company ended up raising $202 million by selling 11.9 million at $17 each, up from the 10 million shares at $14 to $16 it had planned to sell. Underwriters on the deal include Citigroup, Cowen, and Evercore ISI.

In June, Shattuck received $118 million Series B equity financing to push its clinical research on cancer immunotherapy to the next level.  Those investments came from nationally recognized companies, including Redmile Group, Janus Henderson Investors, Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC, and Durham’s own Hatteras Venture Partners.

Shattuck was born in North Carolina, but for the most part, the two locations grew in parallel.  Austin is the corporate hub while Durham is the center for clinical research, manufacturing, and research and development – like two specialized cells working together in the same organism.

In an interview with NCBiotech, Chief Executive Officer Taylor Schreiber said Shattuck plans to use the funding to advance its two existing clinical trials, as well as launch two more clinical trials next year.

Shattuck’s research has to do with its trademarked Agonist Redirected Checkpoint (ARC) program for advanced cancers.

“Over the past few years, a new type of cancer therapy has emerged.  Immune-oncology therapy,” says Schreiber.

Because chemotherapy is made up of toxic small molecules, it targets healthy cells as well, causing side effects like hair loss.  Instead of introducing toxic molecules to the body, ARC teaches the patient’s immune system how to fight off cancerous cells, similar to how it fights off other illnesses.

Schreiber explains the benefits of immune-oncology therapy as opposed to traditional chemotherapy, “ARC is better tolerated by the body and is not intrinsically toxic.”

When asked about growth factors affecting the 5-year-old company, Schreiber highlighted the readily available space in Durham and Austin alike.  Shattuck started in a 2,000-square-foot office.  Now, the Durham location is a 15,000-square-foot building, and with the recent funding, Shattuck plans to double its footprint in North Carolina.

“Research Triangle Park is just a great community,” says Schreiber.  “And a world-class investor syndicate paying attention to companies in North Carolina bodes well for the area.”

(c) North Carolina Biotechnology Center

Original Article Source: WRAL TechWire