Twist Bioscience Joins IPO Craze, Hopes to Secure $86 Million

IPO

Despite an ongoing lawsuit over alleged theft of intellectual property, San Francisco-based Twist Bioscience plans to go public with a $86 million initial public offering.

First reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Twist filed its S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week. The company focuses on DNA synthesis, manufacturing synthetic DNA. The company noted that it is developing synthetic genes, which will be used as tools for next-generation sample preparation, and antibody libraries for drug discovery and development. In its Form S-1, Twist said that between Sept. 30, 2015, and June 30 of this year, the company sold its products to more than 600 customers, including Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks.

The company plans to list on the Nasdaq Exchange under the ticker symbol TWST. As of Aug. 31, the company has secured a total of $291.5 million in gross proceeds from the sale of equity securities.

Twist also noted that its revenue as significantly increased in recent years, growing from $2.3 million in 2016 to $10.8 million last year. It’s on track to beat that by the end of 2018, having brought in revenue of $17 million by the end of the first nine months of this year, the company said in its prospectus.

As of June 30, Twist had 221 full-time employees and is planning on expanding next year in Asia, the company said.

In its SEC filing, the company did note that it is facing the lawsuit filed by Agilent. The lawsuit, which was filed two years ago, alleges that Twist’s chief executive officer Emily Leproust, who is a former Agilent employee, stole trade secrets that helped her launch Twist. According to Agilent’s lawsuit, Leproust, who left the company in 2013, began pitching the idea of launching Twist to venture capitalists before her resignation. Additionally, the lawsuit challenges Twist’s patents on its technology to synthesize oligonucleotides, nucleic acid polymers used in research, genetic testing and forensics. The lawsuit said Leproust was working on similar technology while she was at Agilent.

In the S-1 filing, Twist noted that an “adverse result” from the lawsuit could harm its business. Twist has vowed to fight the allegations.

Twist is the latest company to join the IPO craze this year. The San Francisco Business Times noted that Twist is the 18th Bay Area life sciences company to file for an IPO this year. Twist’s IPO comes hard on the heels of several other biotech companies filing to go public, including South San Francisco-based Allogene Therapeutics, which is eying up to $288 million in its IPO. In September, Bay Area’s Gritstone Oncology raised $100 million in its IPO. Likewise, Principia Biopharma, another South San Francisco company, announced earlier this fall that it was seeking a $86 million IPO.

Also this week, Israel-based Gamida Cell Ltd. filed for a $69 million initial public offering.

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