A Record Year: A Look at the Biotech IPOs for Q4 2018

IPO letters on three buttons in front of three stacks of coins

The Nasdaq indicated that there was a record amount of biotech initial public offerings (IPOs) this year, including some individual record-breakers—ModernaAllogene Therapeutics and Rubius Therapeutics. The total for the year is around $8.2 billion raised, breaking 2014’s record of $6.5 billion. 

Here’s a look at some of the biotech IPOs that took place in this year’s fourth quarter.

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-December IPOs-

Moderna. Moderna, based in Cambridge, Mass., broke a record for the biggest IPO in biotech history. The company sold approximately 26.3 million shares priced at $23 a share. This exceeded the revised goal of $600 million by about $4.3 million. Originally Moderna filed to raise $500 million but revised it to $600 million. 

The company focuses on messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics. mRNA’s role is to transport genetic information from DNA to the ribosome, offering up the amino acid sequence of the eventual proteins the DNA is coding for. Moderna’s tech platform is designed to engineer mRNA to deliver whatever protein codes they want the cells to produce, in effect, turning the cells themselves into vaccine or drug-manufacturing factories.

Moderna has a development pipeline of 21 programs. Ten are in the clinic and another three have open Investigational New Drug (INDs) submissions. Nine of those in the clinic are in Phase I and one is in Phase II, according to a July corporate update.

DiaMedicaOn December 7, the company launched its IPO with a price of $4 per share. The company hopes to raise about $15 million to fund clinical development of its lead drug candidate, DM199, in patients who have suffered an acute ischemic stroke.

Synthorx. Located in La Jolla, Calif., Synthorx raised $131 million. The company focuses on cancer and autoimmune disorders. Its proprietary, first-of-its-kind Expanded Genetic Alphabet platform technology expands the genetic code by adding a new DNA base pair and is designed to create optimized biologics, called Synthorins.

-November IPOs-

Tiziana Life SciencesBased in London, UK, Tiziana raised $4.38 million. The company focuses on developing next-generation therapeutics and diagnostics for cancer and immune diseases. Its clinical programs include milciclib for patients with thymoma and foralumab for Crohn’s disease.

Taiwan Liposome Company (TLC). Headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, Taiwan Liposome raised $21.8 million with its IPO. The company is developing a lipid-assembled drug delivery platform.

Vapotherm. Based in Exeter, NH, Vapotherm raised $64.4 million with its IPO. The company offers Hi-VNI Technology for patients in respiratory distress.

Eton PharmaceuticalsHeadquartered in Deer Park, Ill., Eton raised $21.6 million. In July, the company announced positive top-line results from its Phase III trial of EM-100 ophthalmic solution to treat ocular itching associated with allergic conjunctivitis.

-October IPOs-

Gamida CellBased in Israel, Gamida Cell raised $50 million to support the development of cell therapies for cancer and rare diseases. The figure was downgraded from an initial plan to raise $69 million.

LogicBio Therapeutics. This Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech company brought in $80.5 million, about $10 million over its initial expectations. LogicBio’s core platform focuses on GeneRide technology and synthetic gene-therapy vectors derived from naturally occurring human adeno-associated viruses.

Orchard Therapeutics. Headquartered in the UK, Rochard priced its shares at $14 in order to raise $200 million. The company is developing a gene therapy for Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, a rare immune disease.

PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals. Based in Malvern, Penn., PhaseBio raised $46 million to support the development of novel therapies for orphan diseases, with an early focus on cardiopulmonary conditions. The original prospectus for the IPO was $86 million.

Osmotica Pharmaceutical. Located in Wilmington, NC, Osmotica raised $46.6 million in its IPO. Earlier this year, the FDA approved the company’s Osmolex ER for Parkinson’s disease and for the treatment of drug-induced extrapyramidal reactions in adults.

SI-BONEOn October 17, SI-Bone raised $108 million. Based in Santa Clara, Calif., the company developed the iFuse Implant System, a minimally invasive surgical system for fusion of the sacroiliac joint to treat sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Equillium. Based in La Jolla, Calif., Equillium raised $65.4 million in its IPO. It will be used to support the development of therapies for immune system disorders. Its lead product candidate is EQ001 (itolizumab), a monoclonal antibody that targets the immune checkpoint receptor EQ001.

Allogene Therapeutics. The original IPO goal was $288 million, but the company raised $372.6 million. Based in South San Francisco, the company is developing off-the-shelf CAR-T therapy products.

Guardant Health. Also in the Bay Area, Guardant raised $237.5 million in its IPO. Guardant develops blood tests for early and recurrent cancer detection, the so-called liquid biopsies.

Kodiak SciencesAgain, in the San Francisco Bay Area, Kodiak brought in $90 million with its IPO. The company’s IPO was only weeks after it completed enrollment for its Phase I clinical trial of KSI-301 for retinal vascular diseases, including neovascular age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease.

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