November 2, 2020

Watertown biotech SQZ starts trading after $71M IPO

Today, the company Sharei co-founded and now leads as CEO is set to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange after raising $71 million from investors in its initial public offering.

The company was originally formed in 2013 with the intention of selling the technology as a tool to be used by other drug developers, but in 2015 — when Sharei became CEO — it started making its own cell therapies. That same year, the company — then headquartered at the UMass Venture Development Center — forged a partnership with Swiss drug giant Roche potentially worth more than $500 million. In 2018, the Roche partnership was doubled to bring the potential value to SQZ to around $1 billion. The partnership is centered on SQZ’s lead program in cancers of the head, neck, cervix and anus.

SQZ Biotechnologies was 2016 Tax Incentive awardee, an MLSC program that provides incentives to companies looking to expand their efforts by creating new, long-term jobs in Massachusetts.