May Was a Busy Month with Seven Biotech IPOs


There were seven initial public offerings (IPOs) for biotech companies in the month of May. Here’s a look.


Saint-Herblain, France-based Valneva SE closed on an IPO on May 11, worth $107.6 million. They sold an aggregate of 8,145,176 new ordinary shares, after full exercise of its overallotment option granted to the underwriters, making a public offering of 2,850,088 American Depositary Shares, each one representing two ordinary shares.

Valneva is a specialty vaccine company. It is developing several unique vaccines against Lyme disease, COVID-19 and chikungunya. On May 19, the company announced it was participating in a UK government-funded clinical trial evaluating different COVID-19 booster vaccines, the Cov-Boost trial, led by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. The trial will evaluate seven different COVID-19 vaccines, including Valneva’s VLA2001, as potential boosters.

Talaris Therapeutics

Boston and Louisville, Ky.,-based Talaris Therapeutics closed on its IPO on May 11. The gross proceeds were about $150 million. Talaris is focused on developing an innovative method for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants in hopes of benefiting solid organ transplantation, certain severe autoimmune diseases, and some severe non-malignant blood, immune and metabolic disorders. In July 2020, the company dosed the first patient in its FREEDOM-1 Phase III trial of FCR001 in living donor kidney transplant recipients. FCR001 is an allogeneic cell therapy designed to induce or restore patients’ immune tolerance.

Anebulo Pharmaceuticals 

Austin, Texas-based Anebulo Pharmaceuticals set an IPO pricing of $7 per share for 3 million shares on May 6, with expectations of it closing on May 11. It hoped to raise $21 million. The company’s sold product is ANEB-001, which is Phase II-ready. It is being developed to quickly and effectively reverse the negative effects of cannabinoid overdose within one hour of dosing. The drug is a competitive CB1 antagonist with a high affinity for the human CB1 receptor. It plans to initiate a Phase II proof-of-concept trial for cannabinoid overdose in the Netherlands in the fourth quarter.

Vera Therapeutics 

Based in South San Francisco, Vera Therapeutics announced its IPO pricing on May 13 at $11 per share. It planned to offer 4,350,000 shares of its Class A common stock. 

The company launched on January 19, 2021, with an $80 million Series C financing round led by Abingworth and included Sofinnova Investments, Longitude Capital, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Surveyor Capital, Octagon Capital, Kleiner Perkins, GV, and Alexandria Venture Investments. The company is focused on developing atacicept, a novel inhibitor of B-cells and plasma cells, in patients with IgA nephropathy (gAN). The drug was in-licensed from Merck KGqA, Darmstadt, Germany, and was previously studied in autoimmune diseases.

Singular Genomics Systems 

Headquartered in La Jolla, Calif., Singular Genomics Systems announced their IPO pricing on May 26, of $22 per share, with expectations of raising $224.4 million. Singular focuses on leveraging novel, next-generation sequencing (NGS) and multiomics technologies. Its foundational technology platform is called the Singular Sequencing Engine. It comprises an instrument and a menu of consumable kits called the G5 Integrated Solution collectively. It is working on an integration solution called the PX Integrated Solution, which would combine single cell analysis, spatial analysis, genomics, and proteomics in one integrated instrument.

Day One Biopharmaceuticals 

South San Francisco-based Day One announced an upsized IPO on May 26. They are offering 10 million shares at $16 per share in hopes of raising $160 million. On May 11, the company dosed the first patient in its FIREFLY-1 Phase II trial of DAY101 in pediatric, adolescent and young adults with recurrent or progressive low-grade glioma with a known BRAF mutations. Pediatric low-grade glioma (pLGG) is the most common childhood brain cancer and there are no approved targeted therapies. The trial is being run with the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC).

DAY101 is an oral, brain-penetrant, highly-selective type II pan-RAF kinase inhibitor that targets a key enzyme in the MAPK signaling pathway. MAPK pathway dysregulation is linked to many cancers.

Contessa Pharmaceuticals 

Based in Cambridge, Mass. and London, UK, Contessa announced its IPO pricing on May 27. It plans to raise $330 million. On February 16, 2021, the company launched with a $250 million Series A round led by General Atlantic and co-led by Vida Ventures and Janus Henderson Investors. 

Additional participants included Boxer Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, T. Rowe Price Associates, Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners, Wellington Management Company, BVF Partners, EcoR1 Capital, Franklin Templeton, Logos Capital, Samsara BioCapital, LifeSci Venture Partners, and an undisclosed U.S.-based healthcare-focused fund. 

In conjunction with that launch, the company completed the merger of 10 private biotech companies. They will continue to develop their assets, with Contessa management overseeing the process. Each subsidiary team is asset-focused, meaning it is working on a single program or biological pathway, and their leadership is subject matter experts who are given a high degree of independence to advance each program.

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