IPO Preview: Juno Therapeutics

| About: Juno Therapeutics (JUNO)


Building a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on revolutionizing medicine by re-engaging the body’s immune system to treat cancer.

Phase II trial 'before the end of 2015.'

3.4 times book, which is 'in range.' P/E of -18 indicating 'moderate' cash burn relative to market cap.

CL Alaska, L.P. may purchase $25mm on the IPO, 16%.

Based in Seattle, WA, Juno Therapeutics (Pending:JUNO) scheduled a $153 million IPO on Nasdaq with a market capitalization of $1.3 billion at a price range midpoint of $16.50 for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. Price range mid-point raised to $22. No change in conclusion.

The full IPO calendar is available at IPOpremium

SEC Documents

Manager, Joint-managers: Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs
Co-managers: Leerink Partners

End of lockup (180 days): Wednesday, June 17, 2015
End of 25-day quiet period: Tuesday, January 13, 2015

JUNO is building a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on revolutionizing medicine by re-engaging the body's immune system to treat cancer.


Valuation Ratios

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% offered in IPO

annualizing Sept. 9 months

Juno Therapeutics


no rev






  • Cell-based cancer immunotherapies
  • IP from licenses, not internal development
  • Phase II trial 'before the end of 2015'
  • 3.4 times book, which is 'in range'
  • P/E of -18 indicating 'moderate' cash burn relative to market cap
  • CL Alaska, L.P. may purchase $25mm on the IPO, 16%

To put the conclusions and observations in context, the following is reorganized, edited and summarized from the full S-1 referenced above.

JUNO is building a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on revolutionizing medicine by re-engaging the body's immune system to treat cancer.

Founded on the vision that the use of human cells as therapeutic entities will drive one of the next important phases in medicine, JUNO is developing cell-based cancer immunotherapies based on its chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR, and high-affinity T cell receptor, or TCR, technologies to genetically engineer T cells to recognize and kill cancer cells.

JUNO has shown compelling evidence of tumor shrinkage in clinical trials using multiple cell-based product candidates to address refractory B cell lymphomas and leukemias.

Intellectual property development
JUNO has assembled a talented group of scientists, engineers, clinicians, directors, and other advisers who consolidate and develop technologies and intellectual property from some of the world's leading research institutions, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, or FHCRC, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, or MSK, and the Seattle Children's Research Institute, or SCRI.

- In October 2013, JUNO acquired substantially all of the assets of ZetaRx BioSciences, Inc., or ZetaRx, including patent license agreements with FHCRC and the City of Hope.

- In October 2013, JUNO acquired a license to specific patent rights owned by, and entered into a collaboration agreement with, FHCRC.

- In November 2013, JUNO acquired a license to specific patent rights owned by, and entered into a master sponsored research agreement, and a master clinical study agreement with, MSK.

- In December 2013, JUNO obtained control over, and the right to a majority of any recovery above a certain threshold from, the causes of action owned by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, or St. Jude, in Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania vs. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Civil Action No. 2:13-cv-01502-SD (E.D. Penn.), as well as a license to specific patent rights owned by St. Jude, including U.S. Patent No. 8,399,645.

- In February 2014, JUNO acquired a license to specific patent rights owned by, and a sponsored research agreement with, SCRI.

- In December 2014, JUNO entered into an exclusive license agreement with Opus Bio, Inc., or Opus Bio, the effectiveness of which is subject to certain conditions, and pursuant to which Opus Bio has agreed to grant us an exclusive license under certain patent rights related to a CD22-directed CAR product candidate.

Clinical trials
Before the end of 2015, JUNO plans to begin a Phase II trial that could support accelerated U.S. regulatory approval in relapsed/refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a Phase I/II trial in relapsed/refractory B cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and Phase I trials for at least five additional product candidates that target different cancer-associated proteins in hematological and solid organ cancers.

Longer term, JUNO aims to improve and leverage its cell-based platform to develop additional product candidates to address a broad range of cancers and human diseases.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in developed countries. Cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled proliferation of abnormal cells.

Cancer cells contain mutated proteins and may overexpress other proteins normally found in the body at low levels.

The immune system typically recognizes abnormal protein expression and eliminates these cells in a highly efficient process known as immune surveillance.

Cancer cells' ability to evade immune surveillance is a key factor in their growth, spread, and persistence. In the last five years, there has been substantial scientific progress in countering these evasion mechanisms using immunotherapies, or therapies that activate the immune system. Immunotherapies are increasingly recognized as an important part of today's frontier in the treatment of cancer.

White blood T cell
A central player in cancer immunotherapy is a type of white blood cell known as the T cell. In healthy individuals, T cells identify and kill infected or abnormal cells, including cancer cells.

JUNO leverages two technologies - CARs and TCRs - to activate a patient's own T cells so that they attack cancer cells.

Through genetic engineering, JUNO inserts a gene for a particular CAR or TCR construct into the T cell that enables it to recognize cancer cells.

UNO's CAR technology directs T cells to recognize cancer cells based on the expression of specific proteins located on the cell surface, whereas JUNO's TCR technology provides the T cells with a specific T cell receptor to recognize protein fragments derived from either the surface or inside the cell.

Intellectual property
JUNO has developed and in-licensed numerous patents and patent applications and possesses substantial know-how and trade secrets relating to the development and commercialization of immunotherapy product candidates, including related manufacturing processes and technology.

Many of these in-licensed patents and patent applications claim the inventions of investigators at MSK, FHCRC, SCRI, City of Hope, and St. Jude.

As of December 5, 2014, JUNO's owned and licensed patent portfolio consists of approximately 15 licensed U.S. issued patents, approximately 17 licensed U.S. pending patent applications, and approximately nine owned U.S. pending patent applications covering certain of JUNO's proprietary technology, inventions, and improvements and JUNO's most advanced product candidates, as well as approximately 14 licensed patents issued in jurisdictions outside of the United States and approximately 61 licensed patent applications pending in jurisdictions outside of the United States that, in many cases, are counterparts to the foregoing U.S. patents and patent applications.

In addition to the current standard of care for patients, commercial and academic clinical trials are being pursued by a number of parties in the field of immunotherapy. Early results from these trials have fueled continued interest in immunotherapy and JUNO's competitors include:

in the CAR space, Novartis / Penn; Kite Pharma / National Institutes of Health or NIH; bluebird bio / Celgene / Baylor; and Intrexon / Ziopharm;

in the TCR space, Adaptimmune / GlaxoSmithKline and Kite Pharma / NIH; and

in the cell therapy space, Cellectis / Pfizer.

5% shareholders pre-IPO

  • ARCH Venture Fund VII, L.P. 15.17%
  • CL Alaska L.P. and JT Line Partners L.P. 34.75%
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center 5.17%
  • Robert T. Nelsen 15.17%


No dividends are planned.

Use of proceeds
JUNO expects to receive $139 million from its IPO and use it for the following:

  • $25.0 million to advance JCAR015 through a Phase II clinical trial and the filing of a Biologics License Application for the treatment of r/r ALL;
  • $20.0 million to advance JCAR017 through a Phase I/II clinical trial and into a potential registration trial in r/r NHL;
  • $15.0 million to further develop any additional product candidates that JUNO selects;
  • $30.0 million to expand JUNO's internal research and development capabilities;
  • $20.0 million to establish manufacturing capabilities; and
  • the remainder for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

Disclaimer: This JUNO IPO report is based on a reading and analysis of JUNO's S-1 filing, which can be found here, and a separate, independent analysis by IPOdesktop.com. There are no unattributed direct quotes in this article.

Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

The author wrote this article themselves, and it expresses their own opinions. The author is not receiving compensation for it. The author has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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