Addimmune, a Rockville-based HIV-focused gene therapy company, will go public after a merger with 10X Capital Venture Acquisition Corp. III, according to a news release from Addimmune.
American Gene Technologies International Inc. (AGT) and 10X Capital Venture Acquisition Corp. III (10X III), a special purpose acquisition company, announced Thursday that they entered into a merger agreement.
“We’re at the forefront of gene therapy for HIV, working to transform the fear of a lifelong disease into hope for a single-administration, one-and-done cure,” Addimmune CEO Jeff Galvin said in the release.
According to the release, the new combined company, Addimmune, will be publicly listed, meaning its shares will be traded freely on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “HIV.” Addimune’s pre-money enterprise value, the amount the company is worth before it goes public, is $500 million, according to the release.
In June, Addimmune announced that it was separating from AGT, a biotech firm developing gene and cell therapy drugs. AGT started human trials in 2020 for AGT103-T, a cell therapy that makes gene modifications to patients’ HIV-specific CD4 T cells, which are “helper T cells” or white blood cells that assist in activating the body’s immune response.
The gene modifications harden those cells against HIV infection and depletion, allowing them to fight against HIV instead of being “killed” by the virus, the release said.
“When HIV T cells survive and do their job, they fight HIV just like the immune system is able to fight a cold or flu,” according to the release.
Encouraged by early results in clinical trials, AGT created a separate company, Addimmune, to complete required clinical trials and commercialize a functional HIV cure.
Addimmune “successfully completed the Phase I trial for AGT103-T by showing positive safety results in seven patients,” and through this trial and another study, it “showed active immune responses to HIV up to six months after dosing,” according to the release.
There are 38 million people around the world with HIV, with 1.2 million in the United States, the release said. Multiple treatments exist for HIV, but they can be expensive, life-long and laden with side effects, Addimmune said.
“We believe that people living with HIV may no longer require lifelong treatment, and we imagine a day when this disease no longer causes suffering or claims lives anywhere in the world,” Galvin said.
Hans Thomas, chairman and CEO of 10X III, shares this goal of improving the lives of HIV patients.
“10X is proud to support Addimmune in advancing its mission of curing HIV and giving the 38 million human beings globally afflicted with this generational scourge a chance at a life without a lifelong reliance on a daily cocktail of drugs, a life without HIV,” Thomas said in the release.
According to Thomas, 10X has been a minority investor in AGT since January 2021. The boards of directors of both Addimmune and 10X unanimously approved the merger, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024, the release said.
“We have seen Jeff and his team deliver on their milestones, making significant progress in the clinic, and building an impressive team, board, and group of KOLs along the way,” Thomas said. “We look forward to watching the team continue to deliver on its plan throughout the remainder of the FDA process and beyond.”
Galvin said he looks forward to working with 10X and advancing the reach of Addimmune.
“We’re excited about our collaboration with 10X. They bring a deep understanding of both the capital markets and the innovation that drives Addimmune,” Galvin said. “They will be a valuable partner to shepherd the combined company into the public market.”