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IPO Wave Rolls On as Five Life Science Firms Haul In $651M

Xconomy National — 

A week after seven biotechs went public, setting a new record for the Nasdaq, five more life sciences companies have joined the club. The latest crop continued the positive momentum for life sciences offerings, as the group either met or exceeded their projections and raised a total of $651 million.

Neon Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NTGN) was up first, raising $100 million in an IPO late Tuesday night. The Cambridge, MA, company sold 6.25 million shares at $16, right at the midpoint of its targeted $15 to $17 range. Neon is one of a number of companies developing specific types of cancer vaccines meant to be tailored to each patient. These vaccines contain “neoantigens,” genetic signatures left behind by a patient’s tumor as it mutates. The thinking goes that these neo-antigen vaccines may help boost responses to other immunotherapies. The company will use the IPO proceeds to continue Phase 1b studies testing its lead vaccine, NEO-PV-01, in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (NYSE: BMY) immunotherapy nivolumab (Opdivo) in skin, lung, and bladder cancer. Another preclinical vaccine, NEO-SV-01, targets breast cancer.

Three more biotechs and one medical device firm priced IPOs on Wednesday night. Like Neon, all of them at minimum met their IPO targets. Here’s a roundup of each of them.

— Translate Bio (NASDAQ: TBIO) became the first developer of messenger RNA therapeutics—drugs that coax the body into producing its own disease fighting proteins—to go public in the U.S. Translate boosted its IPO haul to $121.6 million by selling 9.35 million shares at $13 apiece, almost 2 million more shares it had initially planned to sell. In May, the Lexington, MA, firm began an early stage clinical trial for its first therapy, MRT5005, for cystic fibrosis. While on the IPO trail, the company also cut a deal with Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) to co-develop mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases.

—Tricida (NASDAQ: TCDA) raised $222.3 million in an upsized IPO. The South San Francisco, CA, company initially planned to sell 10.3 million shares for between $16 and $18 each but ended up offering 11.7 million shares priced at $19 apiece. Tricida’s experimental treatment for chronic kidney disease, TRCA-301, has already completed Phase 3 studies. The company will use the IPO proceeds to file for FDA approval in the first half of next year.

—Forty Seven (NASDAQ: FTSV) raised $113 million, pricing 7 million shares at the top of its projected $14 to $16 range. The Menlo Park, CA-based company takes its name from the CD47 protein on cancer cells that its drugs target. As with neo-antigen cancer vaccines, CD47 blockers are one way drug developers hope to expand the reach of immunotherapy. Forty Seven spun out of Stanford University in 2016 backed by a $75 million Series A. Its lead drug candidate, 5F9, is in a Phase 1 study as a monotherapy, but the company plans to start testing the drug in combinations with immunotherapies too.

—Medical device firm Neuronetics (NASDAQ: STIM) raised $94 million in its IPO. The Malvern, PA, company sold 5.5 million shares at $17, topping its targeted $14 to $16 range. Neuronetics has an FDA-cleared medical device, the NeuroStar Advanced Therapy System, that uses magnetic brain stimulation to treat patients with major depressive disorder. The cash will help Neuronetics commercialize NeuroStar and support research into other possible uses for the device. Neuronetics reported $40.4 million in 2017 revenue from sales of its system and recurring treatment sessions.

Photo by Flickr user Tracy O under Creative Commons 2.0 and 4.0 licenses. Photo cropped to fit Xconomy publishing system standards. 

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