Passage Bio (NASDAQ:PASG) picked a difficult week to make its public debut, with the market in the midst of a correction driven by fears that the COVID-19 coronavirus will have a significant economic impact.

The gene therapy company raised $216 million in its initial public offering, which it priced at $18 per share. Shares of Passage Bio were up almost 20% at 2:19 p.m. EST Friday.

A depiction of human DNA.

Image source: Getty Images.

The company, which was spun out of the gene therapy program at the University of Pennsylvania, has three therapies in its pipeline. PBGM01 is being developed as a treatment for GM1 gangliosidosis, a nervous system disease caused by mutations in the GLB1 gene. PBFT02 will be studied in patients with frontotemporal dementia who have a mutation in the granulin gene. The third program, PBKR03, is being developed for infantile Krabbe disease, which is caused by mutations in the GALC gene that lead to damage in both the central  and peripheral nervous systems.

None of the treatments are in the clinic yet, but Passage Bio expects to treat the first patients in a clinical trial for PBGM01 in the second half of this year. Clinical trials for the other two programs are expected to start in the first half of next year.

The biotech is currently running a natural history study in patients with GM1 gangliosidosis to determine which outcomes it should measure in its clinical trial of PBGM01.

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