Cartesian Therapeutics Secures $130 Million in PIPE Financing Amid Announcement of First Patient Dosed in Phase 2 Trial for mRNA Cell Therapy

Cartesian Therapeutics, Inc. has secured $130 million in PIPE financing and dosed the first patient in its Phase 2 trial for Descartes-08, an mRNA cell therapy for systemic lupus erythematosus.

July 5, 2024

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Cartesian Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering mRNA cell therapy for autoimmune diseases, has announced a significant milestone in its financial journey. The company has entered into a securities purchase agreement for a private investment in public equity (PIPE) financing, expected to generate gross proceeds of approximately $130 million before deducting placement agent fees and other offering expenses.

The PIPE financing saw robust participation from both new and existing investors, including HBM Healthcare Investments (Cayman) Ltd., Invus, Schooner Capital, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Timothy A. Springer, Ph.D., a leading mutual fund manager, and other institutional investors.

Under the terms of the securities purchase agreement, Cartesian Therapeutics will sell a total of 3,563,247 shares of its common stock and 2,937,903 shares of its Series B Non-Voting Convertible Preferred Stock, each at a purchase price of $20.00 per share. Each share of Series B Preferred Stock is convertible into one share of Common Stock, pending stockholder approval and certain beneficial ownership limitations.

The company plans to utilize the net proceeds from this PIPE financing, along with its existing cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities, to fuel its pipeline programs and for general corporate purposes and working capital.

In conjunction with this financial announcement, Cartesian Therapeutics also reported a major clinical development. The first patient has been dosed in its Phase 2 open-label clinical trial evaluating Descartes-08 in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Descartes-08 is Cartesian’s lead mRNA cell therapy candidate and a potential first-in-class mRNA-engineered chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (mRNA CAR-T). This autologous mRNA CAR-T product candidate targets B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA). Unlike conventional DNA-based CAR-T cell therapies, mRNA CAR-T administration is designed to avoid preconditioning chemotherapy and is not expected to carry the risk of genomic integration associated with cancerous transformation.

Descartes-08 has previously been administered in a Phase 2 clinical trial for myasthenia gravis (MG), with a safety profile that supports outpatient administration with minimal observation.

“Despite recent advances in the SLE treatment landscape, many patients receiving currently available therapies continue to experience severe, incapacitating symptoms and disease progression,” said Carsten Brunn, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Cartesian. “Descartes-08 is purposefully designed to overcome the limitations associated with conventional, costly DNA-engineered CAR-T cell therapies for autoimmune diseases. We believe that Descartes-08 could serve as a safe and effective outpatient option for patients with SLE for whom existing therapies fall short. We are committed to unlocking the full potential of Descartes-08 and look forward to advancing this trial in the months ahead.”

“Dosing the first patient with Cartesian’s autologous mRNA CAR-T cell therapy is a monumental accomplishment for the lupus patient community,” added Susan Manzi, M.D., M.P.H., Chair of the Medicine Institute at Allegheny Health Network and Medical Director for the Lupus Foundation of America. “Treatment options for lupus patients are suboptimal. I am hopeful that Descartes-08 administered as an outpatient therapy will demonstrate early and long-lasting clinical benefit in patients with certain B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases like lupus.”

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