IPO Frenzy Continues as 4 More Go Public

Another four companies join the Nasdaq, bringing the life science IPO count to over 70 this year.

Four more companies waltzed onto the public scene today, securing their place on the ticker in this record-breaking year before 2020 comes to a close.

Certara - Biosimulation company Certara takes the cake with a whopping $668 million raise. The US drug development consultancy sold 29.1 million shares, a 19% increase from their original aim, at $23 apiece. The IPO valued Certara at $3.5 billion. This is the second highest life science company IPO for 2020, beat out only by Royalty Pharma’s $2.2B raise.

Certara partners with biotech and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate drug development. The company’s virtual patient technology gets proof of concept faster and optimizes trial design, while reducing size and even avoiding certain trials altogether. The numbers speak to the global leader’s success – 90% of companies that received new drug approvals by the FDA since 2014 used Certara’s software or services.

AbCellera - This Canadian antibody-drug discovery company has gone from average player to worldwide recognition thanks to the COVID-19 antibody the company provided to partner Eli Lilly. Lilly ran with AbCellera’s discovery and turned it into the first monoclonal antibody therapy approved by the FDA for treatment COVID-19. The US has purchases 950,000 doses of the drug, bamlanivimab, to be used for patients with mild-to-moderate cases. A supply agreement has also been signed with Canada to provide 26,000 doses.

Originally prepping for a $391 million IPO, AbCellera upped its offering to 24.15 million shares at $20 per share for expected proceeds of $483 million, a 24% increase.

4D Molecular Therapeutics - Another company breaking its own expectations, 4D offered 1.4 million more shares than planned and raised 23% more than anticipated. Coming in with $193 million, the clinical-stage biopharma has produced promising preclinical data with genetic treatment programs in Phase I stages for ophthalmology and cardiology applications.

4D is in a collaboration with pharma giant Roche and has support from Pfizer as well, with these factors adding to the interest of its upsized IPO. The company’s target is on both rare and large market diseases, including patient populations that other gene therapies aren’t able to address.

Nanobiotix - The only one perhaps a little disappointed by their Nasdaq debut is French nanoparticle drug developer Nanobiotix. While the shares were sold at the low point of $13.50, the biotech raked in $99 million, which brings the company’s valuation to $502 million.

Nanobiotix’s proprietary technology, NBTXR3 is a first-in-class radioenhancer to work across solid tumors, enhancing radiotherapy efficacy and producing an immune response with just one injection into the tumor. The treatment is currently in two Phase II studies for patients with head and neck cancer.

Just when you think the 2020 life science IPO list can’t get much longer, the count grows to well over 70 companies. We thought 2018 was a big year with 44 IPOs. Is it possible 2020 will double that record over the next 2.5 weeks? Looks like it might come close.

Kate Goodwin is a freelance life science writer based in Des Moines, Iowa. She can be reached at kate.goodwin@biospace.com and on LinkedIn.