Celyad, formerly Cardio3, files for U.S. IPO worth up to $115M

Cardio3 CEO Christian Homsy

Belgian biotech Celyad--better known still by its old name Cardio3--is aiming for a U.S. IPO worth up to $115 million.

Celyad filed Monday with a market cap of €450 million ($501 million), gaining 5% on the day. The company, founded in 2007, changed its name just last month after expanding its initial focus on cardiovascular diseases to the wider, currently burgeoning field of gene therapy, namely CAR-T. Changing the company's name was meant to aid them in the shift from a cardiovascular specialist to a general cell therapy player with the likes of Juno Therapeutics ($JUNO), Kite Pharma ($KITE) or Bellicum Pharmaceuticals ($BLCM), other up-and-comers in the growing space.

Celyad's lead candidate, C-Cure, is an autologous stem cell therapy designed to treat congestive heart failure. In a European Phase III trial, the treatment is showing all the signs of success, and final results are due by the middle of 2016.

The company would trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker "CYAD." It's currently listed on Euronext Paris and Euronext Brussels.

CAR-T therapy indicates the use of artificial T cell receptors that can apply a specific antibody to a human T cell, aided by delivery from a retroviral vector, which is essentially a blank virus. For instance, in cancer, a patient's T cells can be removed and modified so that they express the receptors of that form of cancer and can then target the offending cells with impunity--like a trained police dog.

This can also be achieved in the cardiovascular arena, according to Celyad, but it has subsequently acquired assets such as OnCyte, a company it bought for $180 million that came with an immunotherapy that targets ligands of NKG2D.

Investors are hot on the trail of CAR-T players these days, and Celyad is also part of a wave of European biotechs looking to the U.S. for an influx of cash. With these trends in mind, and the recent renaming, Celyad is looking to make some big moves soon in the U.S., as well as worldwide.

- here's the Celyad release