IPOs

Gritstone’s top-of-the-range IPO brings week’s biotech Nasdaq tally to $520M

Gritstone Oncology joined the festivities on Nasdaq overnight, reaping a $100 million windfall after upsizing its batch of shares and pricing its IPO on the high end of the range.

Andrew Allen

Moving in behind a slate of 3 successful IPOs earlier in the week, Gritstone sold 6.67 million shares at $15 each — the top of the range — and will start trading today under the $GRTS symbol. Added all up, 5 biotechs have raised $520 million this week, with Entasis starting the round with a very weak debut on Nasdaq.

Brad Loncar’s blog has tracked 49 biotech IPOs so far this year, concentrated heavily on Nasdaq. That is more for any of the last 5 years except 2014, when a deluge of 66 hit following an IPO drought on Wall Street that had lasted years after the 2008 crisis.

Goldman Sachs, Cowen and Barclays Capital managed the Gritstone offering, which was helped by a group of insiders offering to buy $35 million of the stock — par for this course.

Gritstone is helmed by CEO Andrew Allen, a Clovis alumni who filed his S-1 on the same day the biotech announced a new TCR alliance with bluebird bio — a deal that, the paperwork revealed, could bring in $1.2 billion in milestones in addition to $30 million total in near-term cash.

The biotech has made a name for itself in the neo-antigen sphere. These targets are often specific to an individual patient, but Gritstone researchers have observed in their tumor sequencing work that certain neo-antigens are shared by a subset of patients, giving birth to their SLATE-001 program. The plan is to submit an IND by mid-2019.


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