IPOs, UK Biotech

From mega-round to $172M IPO in weeks, Orchard is bundling cash to back its play on GSK’s gene therapy cast-offs

A few weeks ago, when Orchard Therapeutics followed its much buzzed about negotiations to carve out GlaxoSmithKline’s gene therapy operations with a $150 million mega-round, I asked if an IPO would be next.

It turns out, the F-1 must have been in the final editing process.

The London-based group has delivered their IPO package now, penciling in $172.5 million for the raise and making the case that there’s a viable business to be had in a field that a struggling GSK simply wanted out of. The F-1 reveals that Orchard’s team handed over a £10 million upfront — not much in the way of a return for GSK’s investment — along with 15 million shares and promises of royalty streams to come.

In return, Orchard landed a pioneering gene therapy — Strimvelis — that is even more rarely seen than the disease it is intended to treat. But there’s also a slate of follow-up programs which the biotech says can address $2 billion in market opportunity. And with a faster, more focused team connected to some of the experts in the gene therapy field, they believe that they can become one of the biotech leaders to lead the way in this field, with its hotly anticipated approach to once-and-done treatments.

Their timeline includes a 2020 FDA application for their ADA-SCID therapy followed a year later with their first pitch for Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.

That won’t be cheap.

Orchard rolled up $260 million in venture dollars to get to this point, and now needs more cash to see its way through the short-term transition it’s mapped out for itself.

Along the way, they helped demonstrate that the London Stock Exchange is all but dead as far as new biotech listings are concerned. Nasdaq has become the place to go in search of public success, and this year we’ve seen investors eagerly embrace a whole slate of new players looking to make some history — and money.

F-Prime is the big gambler here, with about 30% of the stock. The venture group is followed by GSK with 18%, with Deerfield in command of a 6.7% chunk. The Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust is in at 5.6%.

If they are successful, Orchard will have one of the most successful biotech IPOs of the year. The company plans to list as $ORTX.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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