Geron Secures Loan Facility for Up to $75 Million
Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN), a late-stage clinical biopharmaceutical company, today announced that it has entered into a loan facility for up to $75 million with Hercules Capital, Inc. (NYSE: HTGC) and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The loan facility provides the Company with access to non-dilutive financial resources to support the imetelstat development program, as well as working capital and general corporate purposes.
“This debt financing strengthens our balance sheet and provides additional financial flexibility as our imetelstat program advances with two Phase 3 registration-enabling clinical trials – the ongoing IMerge trial in lower risk myelodysplastic syndromes and the planned trial in refractory myelofibrosis,” said Olivia K. Bloom, Chief Financial Officer. “We look forward to working with Hercules and SVB in the future as we include non-dilutive capital in our financing strategy.”
The loan facility is available to Geron in three tranches. The Company received $25 million as part of the first tranche at closing, with the remaining $10 million available through June 15, 2021. The second tranche of an additional $15 million is available to Geron in 2021, subject to achievement of certain clinical milestones. The remaining $25 million in the third tranche is available to the Company through year-end 2022, and subject to approval from the lenders.
Imetelstat is a novel, first-in-class telomerase inhibitor exclusively owned by Geron and being developed in hematologic myeloid malignancies. Early clinical data suggest imetelstat may have disease-modifying activity through the apoptosis of malignant stem and progenitor cells, which allows potential recovery of normal hematopoiesis. Geron’s imetelstat development program includes two registration-enabling studies, IMerge, an ongoing Phase 2/3 clinical trial in lower risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and a planned Phase 3 clinical trial in refractory myelofibrosis (MF) expected to be open for patient screening and enrollment in the first quarter of 2021. Imetelstat has been granted Fast Track designation by the United States Food and Drug Administration for both the treatment of patients with non-del(5q) lower risk MDS who are refractory or resistant to an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent and for patients with Intermediate-2 or High-risk MF whose disease has relapsed after or is refractory to janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor treatment.