Akcea IPO stumbles and falls well below the range, but still raises $175M

Paula Soteropoulos, Akcea CEO

Investors weren’t willing to pay what Akcea Therapeutics $AKCA wanted for their IPO shares, but by adding to the load of stock on offer the Ionis spinoff still managed to raise $125 million. That set up Novartis to follow through on a promise to buy up another $50 million in shares, bringing the total to $175 million.

Akcea had set the range at $12 to $14 a share, but the final figure last night rang in at $8, falling far short of the goal. Cowen, Stifel and Wells Fargo Securities are acting as joint book running managers for the offering.  BMO Capital Markets is acting as lead manager for the offering.

About half of this new money will be used to pay for the Phase III volanesorsen study, setting up a drug that it plans to market in the US and Europe by itself. Akcea CEO Paula Soteropoulos plans to set aside $30 million to complete the planned Phase II program for AKCEA-APO(a)-L Rx; $16 million to complete the planned Phase II program for AKCEA-ANGPTL3-L Rx; and about $24 million to complete the planned Phase II program for AKCEA-APOCIII-L. Novartis is partnered on a pair of those programs.

Akcea failed to keep the range after a slate of new IPOs from a lineup of biotechs which have been largely successful in winning over investors. One of the most recent additions to the public market group was Mersana, which landed at the middle of its range with a $15 per share IPO $MRSN. There’s been a burst of new biotech IPOs over the last couple of months as investors at least temporarily found some renewed enthusiasm for the field.


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