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CORRECTED-General Atlantic-backed Centessa targets $1.7 bln valuation in U.S. IPO

(Corrects to remove reference to Cerecor Inc as one of the biotech companies acquired by Centessa in the second-last paragraph)

May 24 (Reuters) - Centessa Pharmaceuticals Plc, the newly formed biopharma company backed by private equity firm General Atlantic, said on Monday it was aiming for a valuation of up to $1.7 billion in its initial public offering in the United States.

Formed in October, Centessa received $250 million funding in January. It is also backed by venture capital firm Index Ventures and life sciences-focused investment firm Medicxi.

Moncef Slaoui, formerly the chief scientific adviser for the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed COVID-19 vaccine development program, joined Centessa as its chief scientific officer in February.

Slaoui, however, stepped down from his role later following reports of allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct towards an employee of GlaxoSmithKline several years ago.

Centessa is offering 15 million American depositary shares (ADSs), each representing one ordinary share, for a price between $18 and $20 per ADS. At the top end of the range, the IPO would rake in $300 million.

The company said it plans to locate its headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Jefferies and Evercore ISI are the underwriters for the offering. Centessa said it would list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “CNTA”. (Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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