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Atara Biotherapeutics, Backed by Carlos Slim, Files for IPO

By Mike Billings

Atara Biotherapeutics Inc., which is developing therapies for illnesses that include kidney disease and cancer, has filed for an initial public offering.

Billionaire Mexican businessman Carlos Slim is one of Atara's investors, through a family trust that owns 9.3% of Atara shares, according to a regulatory filing.

Atara, of Brisbane, Calif., was incorporated in 2012, and has never generated revenue. It had a net loss of $4.1 million in 2012 and $8.8 million in 2013.

Atara said in a regulatory filing that the proceeds from the IPO would be used for development and clinical studies of two of its drug candidates and to expand its research for other drug candidates.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is one of the largest shareholders in Atara, owning 18.6% of the pre-IPO shares. Domain Associates holds 13.2% of the shares, DAG Ventures holds 13.2%, the hedge fund The Baupost holds 11.8%, Celgene Corp. holds 8.7%, Amgen Inc. holds 8.6% and Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. holds 5.3%.

The company raised $52 million in Series B funding in January. Other investors in the company include Domain Associates and EcoR1 Capital.

Atara said it could raise as much as $50 million from the IPO, though that is a placeholder number that is likely to change.

Atara filed to be listed on the Nasdaq under the symbol ATRA.

Write to Mike Billings at

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