Biotechs Bolstering Bank Accounts by Selling Stock This Week


Several new initial public offering (IPO) announcements have been made by international and U.S.-based biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the past couple of days, with Dutch biotechnology company LAVA Therapeutics leading the pact.

LAVA, a company harnessing expertise in bispecific gamma-delta T cell engagers to develop new cancer therapies, announced Wednesday the pricing of its IPO of 6,700,000 common shares at a public offering of $15.00 for each share. Under terms of the IPO, the company also granted a 30-day option to the underwriters to buy up to an additional 1,005,000 common shares at the same IPO price.

The LAVA shares, which should start trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on March 25 under LVTX, are expected to result in gross proceeds of up to $100.5 million. The IPO will close on March 29. Joint book-running managers for the offering include J.P. Morgan, Jefferies and SVB Leerink. Late last year, LAVA announced $83 million in Series C financing, which the company is using to support the advancement of its novel immune-oncology programs.

Global biosimulation leader Certara also recently announced pricing of its underwritten IPO of 10 million shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $25.00 per share. Certain existing selling stockholders granted underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to an additional 1,500,000 shares of common stock. The company said in its statement on the IPO that it does not plan to sell any shares and will not see proceeds from the share sales, which will be managed by the selling stockholders.

Certara says the offering should close on March 29, but this date will depend on customary closing conditions. Lead joint book-running managers on the offering include Jefferies, Morgan Stanley and BofA Securities. Additional joint book-running managers for the Certara IPO include Credit Suisse, Barclays and William Blair.

Also on Thursday came the announcement from Evofem Biosciences that it has decided to price an underwritten public offering of 17,142,857 shares of its common stock at $1.75 per share to the public. Gross proceeds from the offering are expected to culminate to $30.0 million, at least before the deduction of underwriting discounts and commissions as well as other expenses related to the offering.

Evofem’s IPO is set to close on or around March 29. The company said in a statement on the IPO that it has also granted underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to 2,571,428 additional shares of common stock at the public offering price. All common stock shares in the offering will be sold by Evofem.

Net proceeds from the offering will be used to support full commercialization activities of Evofem’s Phexxi®, a contraceptive vaginal gel in the United States comprising lactic acid, citric acid and potassium bitartrate. This will include supporting ongoing direct-to-consumer advertising activities across television, streaming and digital channels.

In addition, the net proceeds will go to support the company’s ongoing EVOGUARD Phase III clinical trial, which is currently investigating EVO100, the investigational vaginal gel, for sexually transmitted infection prevention. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted EVO100 Fast Track Designation for the prevention of chlamydia in women.

In December 2020, the company said its pivotal Phase III trial on the therapy remains on schedule, with the study reaching enrollment targets in both October and November of last year.  

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