Massachusetts Biotechs Raise $2.4 Billion in 2018 IPOs

Weeks Memorial Bridge across Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Weeks Memorial Bridge across Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Biotechs across the globe have raised a significant amount of capital through initial public offerings this past year. The total amount of IPOs raised this year is around $8.2 billion, eclipsing 2014’s record of $6.5 billion. In the state of Massachusetts, 17 companies combined to raise $2.4 billion in IPOs over the course of 2018.

Most of the IPOs that occurred in the Bay State have been well-documented by BioSpace. But, with a new calendar year upon us, it’s a good idea to look back at a banner year of capitalization that may not repeat when January rolls around. With the turn of the year only days away, BioSpace takes a look at some of the key Massachusetts-based IPOs.

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It should be no surprise that Moderna hit the top spot for IPOs. The company set an industry record with a $604 million IPO this month. Moderna, which focuses on messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics, has a development pipeline of 21 programs. The company has 10 products in the clinic, nine in Phase I and one in Phase II.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Rubius Therapeutics secured $277 million in its IPO. As the company looks to file an Investigative New Drug Application for RTX-134 in the first part of 2019, Rubius wanted to secure enough funding to support the development of the treatment for phenylketonuria (PKU). Rubius specializes in engineering red blood cells to have medicinal purposes. The company’s therapeutic program turns stem cells into red blood cells and then introduces genetic material into the cells to express specific proteins, which will make them uniquely suited for treating a variety of diseases, including cancer and metabolic disorders

Homology Medicines closed out its IPO at $163 million, a little higher than the $144 million after the first round of trading. Homology is developing a gene-editing technology that it believes is safer than other existing technologies, such as the popular CRISPR-Cas9. Homology has developed its AMEnDR (AAV-Mediated Editing by Direct Homologous Recombination) platform for rare genetic diseases. The company’s lead therapy HMI-102 is being developed for the treatment of adult phenylketonuria (PKU), a metabolic disease caused by a mutation in the PAH gene.

With a focus on developing a gene therapy treatment for Duchene muscular dystrophy, Solid Biosciences raised $133 million in its IPO. The company is developing SGT-001, a novel adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector-mediated gene transfer treatment that is under investigation for its ability to address the underlying genetic cause of DMD. The company’s belief is that SGT-001 could be a one-time treatment for the devastating disease regardless of genetic mutation or stage of the disease. 

Lexington, Mass.-based Translate Bio raised $115 million in its IPO to support development of its cystic fibrosis treatment, MRT5005. MRT5005 is an mRNA product candidate designed to treat the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis. The company planned to initiate a Phase I/II trial for MRT5005 in the middle of 2018.

About the same time Translate Bio filed, another Massachusetts-based company, Neon Therapeutics also filed for its IPO. The company raised $100 million to support the development of NEO-PV-01, a personal cancer vaccine designed uniquely for each patient based on DNA mutations from the patient’s tumor.

In addition to Neon Therapeutics, Massachusetts saw a number of $100 million IPOs from biotechs this year. Also hitting that century mark was Replimune and Magenta Therapeutics.

Other Bay State biotechs that went public this year are, according to a list compiled by Bostonomix, are Avrobio, which raised $114 million; Surface Oncology, which raised $108 million; Restorbio, which raised $97 million; Scholar Rock, which raised $86 million; Evolo Biosciences, which raised $84 million; Entasis Therapeutics, which raised $75 million; Cue Biopharma and Unum Therapeutics, which both raised $69 million; and Constellation Pharmaceuticals, which raised $60 million.

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