NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Aduro Biotech is expected to make its public markets debut Thursday with an initial public offering that will value the cancer immunotherapy developer at more than $1 billion. Advaxis (ADXS), a competitor working on similar cancer drugs, sports a valuation roughly half as large, but its stock has moved higher in the past month to close the gap.
Aduro is set to raise $119 million through the sale of 7 million shares at $17 per share. Investor demand for the Aduro IPO is said to be heavy. (The offering size was raised Tuesday from 5 million shares at a price range of $14 to $16 per share.) The stock will trade under the ticker ADRO.
Advaxis shares are up almost 70% since March 13, the day Aduro filed for its IPO. The stock closed Monday up 4% to $20.59. Advaxis hit an all-time high of $21.53 last week.
The lead cancer immunotherapy platforms under development by Aduro and Advaxis are similar. Both companies tinker with listeria, a common bacteria, to express proteins found on specific types of tumor cells. The re-engineered listeria is supposed to prime a patient's immune system to identify and kill the targeted cancer cells.
Both companies also believe combining their respective listeria-based "vaccines" with additional therapies -- traditional chemotherapy or other immunotherapies -- offers the best chance of an effective tumor-killing response.
Aduro is conducting a phase IIb study in which metastatic pancreatic cancer patients are being treated with a combination of the company's lead pipeline product CRS-207 plus another experimental cancer vaccine known as GVAX. The study is randomized into three arms, with pancreatic cancer patients receiving the CRS-207/GVAX combination, CRS-207 alone or physician's choice of currently approved chemotherapies. Overal survival is the primary endpoint.