Another four biotechs scratch out the first number and ask for more as IPO boom continues
Four more biotechs are raising their offers in an already record year for biotech IPOs.
Softbank-backed Relay Therapeutics scratched out its original $200 million filing and proposed a $250 million raise that would make them a $1.5 billion company. CAR-T developer Poseida Therapeutics bumped itself up $74 million to $224 million. Off-the-shelf cell therapy startup Nkarta upped from $150 million to $215 million — and then priced even higher, at $252 million. France’s Inventiva did its own modest reset, raising its bar from $102 million to $108 million.
Poseida, Nkarta and Inventiva priced today. Relay will price next week.
Barring a surprise flop, the latest flurry of raises means there will be 13 $200 million-plus biotech IPOs in 2020 before August. By contrast, all of 2019 saw two biotechs pass that mark; 2018 saw 7 do so.
The run of eye-catching deals began in the first days of April when, after a pair of pandemic-driven stock market crashes, the small and little-known biotech Zentalis managed to score $165 million in a public offering. At the time, Nasdaq’s Jordan Saxe told Bloomberg he expected biotech to open the IPO market back up, with its investors more focused on the long term than a short term that had the potential to be brutal. He predicted 30-35 IPOs for $3.5 billion and a series of blank check companies, a pair of predictions that have since looked prescient.
It’s not just private companies that are getting in on the action. Public biotechs, too, have put out for large raises. This week alone Vir Biotechnology offered $300 million in a secondary offering, Revolution Medicines offered $156 million and Akero Therapeutics offered $188.2 million.
The buzz has allowed, among other things, very early stage companies to attract significant interest, including a single week in June when three preclinical biotechs raised over $200 million in a single week.
That trend has continued into this week. Nkarta, focused on natural killer cell therapies, has yet to bring a candidate into the clinic, although they plan to do so later this year. Relay Therapeutics, focused on solid tumors, only started their first trial earlier this year.
Poseida and Inventiva, though, are further along. With backing from Novartis, Poseida’s BCMA CAR-T is already in Phase II and, earlier this year, they started recruiting for a Phase I with another CAR-T therapy. Inventiva is in Phase II for a NASH drug and a mucopolysaccharidosis type VI drug.