Cellectis (CLLS) What's Up?

CLLS up 8.5% so far today, and on triple normal volume. Only recent news was from June 27 when they initiated Phase 1 trials at Cornell-Weill of their lead product UCART123 for tx of relapsed Acute Myeloid Leukemia. While they also are doing an IPO of their wholly-owned crop seed company Calyxt, that was awhile ago and I’m sure unrelated to today’s stock action. Any guesses as to what might be happening?

Cellectis announced the IPO proposal at $15-$18 Monday this week (July 10) as I remember. They probably closed it today successfully at a good price, bringing in plenty of cash.


CLLS has not priced yet. The range as Saul said is estimated to be $15-$18/share.


The new company’s name is Calyxt
Ticker CLXT
Expected week of 07/17

Calyxt was founded in 2010 in St. Paul, MN, USA. Based on a technology developed at Cellectis and at the University of Minnesota, we have built a unique platform to create new varieties of crops to produce healthier food products.


Saul et al., I can’t believe that the impending IPO of CLXT is solely responsible for all of today’s action in its parent CLLS.

  1. the actual IPO is probably next week, not today
  2. the original announcement of the partial spin-off was made June 23 (they even halted trading in CLLS for an hour while the announcement was being made)
  3. this is indeed a great way for CLLS to raise cash w/o having to do a secondary or borrow
  4. CLLS will become a somewhat more cash-rich company when the IPO is completed
  5. but potential investors in CLLS knew all about this way back on June 23
  6. so why didn’t they start buying shares of CLLS gradually back then instead of all trying to pile on today and thus driving up the price like what happened?
  7. Conclusion, all the buying today NOT just from the upcoming IPO of CLXT
  8. Speculation, there has to be something else going on as well, this is just my guess.
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A Press Release from July 10, 2017: (Pertinent information extracted)

Cellectis S.A. (Nasdaq: CLLS) and Calyxt, Inc. announced today that Calyxt has commenced a proposed initial public offering of 6,060,606 shares of Calyxt’s common stock…

The estimated price range for the initial public offering is $15.00 to $18.00 per share of common stock which would result in gross proceeds of $100.0 million at the midpoint of the estimated price range.

Calyxt is Cellectis’ 100% owned gene editing agriculture company. Cellectis intends to retain majority ownership of Calyxt.


PenguinCafe…the news that CLLS intended to keep a majority stake in CLXT, after its IPO, was announced back on June 23:


But what I’d still like to understand is how the IPO of CLXT could move the stock price of CLLS so much, and at 4x average volume, on a day three weeks after the information about the IPO was made public and thus able to be acted upon by investors at any time between then and today?


Stock trader posted a youTube video Saturday that the CLLS gains on Friday were sympathy move in conjunction with Novartis’ CAR-T tx having been recommended for approval by FDA panel earlier in week.

From the news/analysis surrounding approval there emerged conjecture that Novartis’ tx could cost $500,000 per patient, and that majority of patients experienced serious side-effects, mainly Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS).

The trader speculated that interest in CLLS peaked b/c its allogenic (Universal Donor) CAR-T product (UCART123) will likely be much cheaper than Novartis, and will also incorporate a so-called “off-switch” supposed to deactivate UCART123 before it can trigger CRS.

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The trader speculated that interest in CLLS peaked b/c its allogenic (Universal Donor) CAR-T product (UCART123) will likely be much cheaper than Novartis, and will also incorporate a so-called “off-switch” supposed to deactivate UCART123 before it can trigger CRS.

Yes, the “off the shelf” CAR-T that Cellectis is working on would be the Holy Grail of cancer treatment if they can get it to work. We don’t know yet as in June they announced the beginning of their first trial with human subjects (as I understand it).

For those who are just hearing about this, the two problems with CAR-T are:

  1. Cost - because they first have to take the patient’s own T-cells, ship them off to the company’s labs, and then do whatever they do to them to make them seek out and kill the cancer cells, ship them back to the hospital, and then re-inject them into the patient. This takes time and money. A lot. What Cellectis is doing (working with Pfizer) is “off the shelf” T-cells for given cancers. As you can imagine, this would be stupendous if they can get it to work.

  2. Side-effects - Granted that these are patients who have terminal illnesses if they don’t find a way to treat them, but a possibly lethal side effect like Cytokinase Release Syndrome is a pretty terrible side effect anyway. It comes from the re-injected T-cells occasionally getting carried away (to way oversimplify). A switch to turn the T-cells off with a pill would be great. ZioPharma apparently has something like that, and this is the first I heard that Cellectis is also working on it.

In June Cellectis announced the first subjects in their Stage 1 trial at Weill Cornell in New York. Apparently, these are the first humans to receive off-the shelf Car-T.

As far as the trader’s conjecture that Cellectis’ move on Friday was due to the recommendation for approval for Novartis a number of days earlier, I think that is just total speculation. Why wait three or four days and then suddenly go up 10%? These guys make up a reason for every move up or down of the market.

Hope that helps,