BIOTECHNOLOGY

Austin biotech firm Molecular Templates raises $60 million, goes public

Posted August 15th, 2017

Austin-based biotechnology firm Molecular Templates is now a publicly traded company, thanks to a reverse-merger with California-based Threshold Pharmaceuticals.

The company now trades under the stock ticker “MTEM” on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

It’s common for biotech companies to go public as a way of funding their expensive research and development efforts. It takes years and millions of dollars to undertake clinical trials and gain regulatory approvals. 

Molecular Templates, which is developing cancer treatments, raised $60 million on the day its purchase of Threshold Pharmaceuticals closed, according to two securities filings.

This funding round was led by Longitude Capital, which invested $20 million in the combined company, with an additional $20 million  from CAM Capital, BVF, Perceptive Advisors and others.

Another $20 million investment was made by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. as part of a collaboration and license agreement that Molecular made with Takeda.

That brings the total new investment in Molecular to $60 million. 

According to a news release issued by Molecular Templates, the combined company has a cash balance of $75 million on hand to fund its research and development efforts. 

Molecular Templates is developing cancer-killing agents based on protein engineering techniques. Its lead drug is designed to target lymphoma and leukemia cancers.

The company Molecular purchased, Threshold Pharmaceuticals, was focused on developing drugs and other diagnostic tools to target tumors and other malignancies. 

Molecular Templates started out as a Canadian biotech company, but moved its headquarters to Austin in 2009 after raising $2.5 million from Austin VC firm Santé Ventures,

The company was founded in 2000 by researchers at the University of Toronto and the Ontario Cancer Institute.  When Molecular Templates executives chose to move the company to Austin, the CEO said the move was in part based on the city’s proximity to local universities and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The American-Statesman previously reported that Molecular Templates raised $12 million in 2013 and 2014.

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