Seres Therapeutics Raises $133M for State's Second-Largest Bio IPO, As Rival OpenBiome Grows

Published: Jun 26, 2015

Seres Therapeutics Raises $133M for State's Second-Largest Bio IPO, As Rival OpenBiome Grows
June 26, 2015
By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Sr. Editor

Cambridge, Mass.-based Seres Therapeutics has raised $133 million for a vastly oversubscribed IPO that has turned out to be Massachusetts’ second-largest biotech public offering, the company said Friday.

Seres is a spinout of Flagship Ventures, which has seen a rash of successful IPOs. It said Monday it hoped to raise at least $100 million priced at $15 to $17 per share, for 6.3 million shares. It proved it could pull in that money and more, because its gut bacteria drug is well on its way to late-stage trial after raking in $48 million seven months ago. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Seres’ lead product SER-109 a “breakthrough” designation.

But there may be some turbulence on the horizon for the company. It has recently faced pressure from other microbiome rivals, with OpenBiome, its neighbor in Medford, Mass., announcing significant growth this week for its own treatment for antibiotic-resistant Clostridium difficile infection. OpenBiome has already begun treatment for close to 200 people weekly, and competes with Seres’ for the same consumers, although its nonprofit model makes it hard to beat.

Today’s offering from Seres ranks behind the state’s largest IPO from Blueprint Medicines, which said April 30 that it was oversubscribed for its own bid. Blueprint sold 8.15 million shares at $15 to $17 apiece for a total of $147 million, a massive jump from the 7.2 million shares at $15 to $17 apiece it estimated it would sell just a week prior.

That pricing was 28 percent lower than what that week’s frothier market would support, meaning that when Blueprint does finally list on the NASDAQ under the ticker BPMC, it carries with its investors’ high hopes—and a lot of their money. It also places it ahead of the 20 biotech firms which have gone public in in the last two years, even larger than Newton-based Karyopharm Therapeutics , which whipped up $125 million for its Nov. 6, 2013 IPO.

The state has had a roaring spring and summer, with four of the area’s hottest VC shops, including Atlas Venture, Flagship Ventures and MPM, now having around $1.7 billion to invest in early-stage biotech and medical device firms.

That interest from investors is hardly surprising, particularly in early-stage companies. VCs are increasingly looking for novel places to put their biotech dollars, with three times more venture capital dollars spent on drug improvements than on new drugs in the last decade, found a study published in February by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). It also found VCs are increasingly interested in rare diseases and shying away from Series A rounds.

The first-of-its-kind study was released in February and covers a 10-year-period from 2004 to 2013 and set out to “better understand investor trends in order to determine where scientific or policy issues may be impacting the ability to maintain a robust pipeline of innovative medicines.”

Life Science Startups Froth as VC Firm MPM Capital Closes $400 Million Funding Round

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As Rumors Swirl About GlaxoSmithKline Bid, Who Could Suitors Be?
Rumors are swirling that Swiss-based Roche and U.S.-based Johnson & Johnson are eying the U.K. company for approximately $143 billion. But Roche and J&J aren’t the only companies though who have been thought could go after the elephant that is Glaxo.

Last month there was buzz that Pfizer Inc. was considering acquiring Glaxo, a year after it failed to acquire AstraZeneca PLC . Just this month over a third of respondents in a poll conducted by BioSpace believe that AstraZeneca PLC could be in the running to acquire struggling GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

So BioSpace wants to ask our readers again what they predict for this new dealmaking bonanza. Will Glaxo go—and if so, to whom?

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