Thought Rubius Therapeutics was ambitious when it set terms for a $200 million IPO? Well, think again.
The Cambridge, MA-based biotech has just bagged $241 million by offering 10.5 million shares at $23, both figures above the original plan of 9.53 million shares between $20 and $22 each. That brings Rubius’ market cap to $2 billion — built solely upon its preclinical assets.
Joining Rubius in celebrating a bigger-than-expected Nasdaq debut is Crinetics Pharma, the team of endocrine experts which nabbed $63.5 million to support its nascent clinical work just weeks ago. Instead of raising $80 million, they bagged $102 million by selling 6 million shares at $17 each, a million more shares than originally intended sold at the high end of the range.
Both listings underscore not just the pace, but the fervor we have been observing in the US for biotech IPOs. In just half the time, this year’s hot streak of biotechs going public has already surpassed 2017’s annual total. It towers over previous years’ numbers and is on track to challenge the high peak in 2014.
With an ambitious platform that hijacks cells and promises to turn them into a new fleet of therapies, Rubius is no stranger to big money. Launched out of Flagship in 2015, it has raised $220 million in two rounds just within the last two years.
And they are putting the money to work. The IPO news came days after the company announced a new $155 million project to renovate a 135,000 square-foot manufacturing site in Rhode Island for its cell therapies. Just a month before that, the company recruited Novartis vet Pablo Cagnoni to the helm, steering the operations alongside president Torben Straight Nissen.
The team at Crinetics, meanwhile, have been working on new drugs after developing some novel thoughts about the way GPCRs work. The lead program is focused on acromegaly, a rare disease triggered when the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone, causing enlarged bones that can lead to gigantism. Somatostatin can rein that in, but synthetic somatostatin analogs don’t always work. That leaves the biotech in the hunt for a small molecule that can.
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