Caris considers IPO after landing $310M – Dallas Business Journal – Dallas Business Journal

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After landing a massive round last year, Caris Life Sciences continues to expand its reach in its industry – and an initial public offering could be in the future.
The Irving company is bringing a multi-pronged approach to helping treat cancers, creating demand that’s helped Caris expand to more than 1,100 employees, up over 50 percent from the year-ago period. It’s also expanding its physical footprint, including in North Texas.
“We would continue to expect further growth in line with what we’ve done historically,” CFO Thomas Parker said in an interview. “We don’t see it slowing down.”
The local company turned heads in October with the announcement it had raised more than $300 million in financing, including an equity piece. It was easily the biggest such deal of the year in North Texas.
The company could be making other moves that could include an initial public offering. Parker said “we’re reviewing our options,” while noting that Caris is in a good position after the key funding it received from a great group of investors.
“The size of the company’s scale, our future pipeline — some of those things — are pretty well suited for the public markets,” he said. “We’re taking a serious look at that this year. That doesn’t mean we have definite plans.”
Other companies tied to health care have made moves to the public markets in the past year in the Dallas region, including Lantern Pharma in June and Taysha Gene Therapies in September. Still, it’s something Caris hasn’t made any clear plans on, Parker said.
While Caris has been investing, it’s been stepping up efforts with its locations. The company is expanding its physical reach as it adds 115,000 square feet of laboratory and office space in the Dallas area, a move that pushes the overall size locally to about 150,000 square feet. It’s also extending to its footprint in the Phoenix area with laboratories and a research and development facility.
The company is finding traction with an approach to tissue analysis that’s trying to bring more precision to addressing cancer. It’s looking at DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid) and proteins to reveal a molecular blueprint that helps physicians and cancer patients make treatment decisions.
Caris’ MI GPSai, an artificial intelligence driven product, is bringing additional insight to help oncologists. The service performed well in a study as it predicted the tumor type in the labeled data set with an accuracy of over 94 percent on 93 percent of cases while deliberating amongst 21 possible categories of cancer.
The company is looking to add more tools for medical professionals. The company expects to launch a blood-based profiling offering later this year. This is intended to provide information about a patient’s tumor profile to help physician’s determine treatment. This liquid or blood biopsy is a non-invasive alternative when traditional tissue biopsy is not available.
Parker spoke more on the details about what the company is doing and its opportunities:
So, at the end of the day, if some, sadly, may have cancer, your firm steps in to help out?
Yes, the patient is battling cancer. They’re working with their physicians; the physician will actually order a profile from Caris. So, when we talk about profiling, that is a work-up to assess the DNA, RNA and proteins of the specific tumor — so the biopsy of the tumor is sent to us. We look at that via various sequencing and other technologies in a very broad and deep way — (and) to then correlate that to evidence that’s in the market.
You can imagine a pharmaceutical company develops a drug. That drug is based on a specific target or marker. You have to check for that marker before you can prescribe that drug. Similarly, that can be the case with … protein assessments. So we provide all of that data kind of packaged up and synthesized so the physician can use that kind of cutting-edge technology — but use it easily.
What’s been the uptake in the market and what are some of your efforts?
We’ve been in the space for 10 years. There’s no question that experience has been helpful for us down that path. That said, the market is still, I would say, less than 20 percent penetrated across the board. The challenge in answering precisely is a profile can take different forms, depending on the company.
Some companies may provide just a handful of markers; some companies may do 50, or 70. We do the full exome — 22,000 DNA genes, the full transcriptome, which are transcripts, or messages, coming off of those genes, and some additional proteins.
You can imagine a patient could be profiled and get a handful of markers and say, ‘I’ve been profiled, and I know now that I have triple negative breast cancer’ because they had to look at three markers to understand that. We think that’s obviously quite different than a more comprehensive approach that we provide.
What’s your thinking on global reach?
We’ve started to expand. There’s just been so much growth in the U.S. frankly that a lot of our time and effort has been here. But we’re actively looking at international strategy, what does that mean in terms of partners and potential. We have a location outpost in Basel, where we do have European resources. The vast majority of the business is the U.S.
This interview is edited for brevity and clarity.
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