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Tango Therapeutics to go public in $353 million SPAC deal

This microscope image made available by the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research in 2015 shows human colon cancer cells.
This microscope image made available by the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research in 2015 shows human colon cancer cells.Associated Press

Cambridge biotech Tango Therapeutics is going public through a $353 million deal with a special purpose acquisition company, the precision cancer medicine firm announced on Wednesday.

The SPAC, called BCTG Acquisition Corp., is backed by Boxer Capital, one of the biotech’s investors.

As part of the deal, Tango will receive approximately $167 million from BCTG and another $186 million from a group of health care investors, including Bain Capital Life Sciences, Fidelity Management & Research Company, and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock.

SPAC mergers have become a popular way for firms to go public, as an alternative to traditional IPOs, and several Boston area companies are rumored to be potential targets. Last week, Bloomberg reported that Boston’s Ginkgo Bioworks was exploring a SPAC deal potentially worth more than $20 billion.

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Tango launched out of Third Rock Ventures in 2017 and its cancer therapies are in the preclinical stage. With the proceeds from the SPAC merger, Tango plans to accelerate its lead drug candidate into clinical testing during the fourth quarter of this year, “with the goal of filing one new [drug application] every 12 to 18 months.”

The company’s platform aims to destroy hard-to-reach cancer cells by targeting “synthetic lethal” cells, or cells that exist in a symbiotic partnership with cancer cells.

Although its programs have yet to hit clinical trials, they already have the attention of California drug giant Gilead Sciences. In 2018, Gilead paid Tango $50 million upfront for the rights to as many as five drug targets, and last August, Gilead pitched in another $125 million to expand that number to 15.

Tango announced in February that it would soon move out of Kendall Square to lease space in a 500,000-square-foot Fenway neighborhood office and lab building that is under construction, a growing trend among the region’s life sciences companies. Third Rock will also move into the new building.

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Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8.