It’s a record! Biotech IPO frenzy outpaces 2017 in half the time as 4 new arrivals on Nasdaq raise $556M

Between one Boston-based biotech run by some veteran stalwarts and two upstarts in the Bay Area, an extended hot streak of biotech IPOs has blasted past last year’s annual total. And even as analysts caution of a likely slowdown, we have one more IPO filing to suggest that the industry may yet challenge the high peak hit in 2014.

Gerrit Klaerner

San Francisco-based Tricida $TCDA may not be as well known as many of the bean town biotechs to go public this year, but it nevertheless brought in a whopping $222 million haul on an upsized offering of shares that came it at $19 each — above the range.

Run by Relypsa founder Gerrit Klaerner, Tricida timed its IPO perfectly, lining up positive Phase III data while dropping its S-1 in a market seemingly ready to pounce on every passing biotech offering to come its way right now. Tricida stood out from the average early-stage drug developer in this queue, with a commercialization plan in hand for its lead drug, designed to treat metabolic acidosis in CKD patients.

Ron Renaud

Then there was Translate Bio $TBIO, which priced 9.35 million shares today at $13, raising $122 million. That’s right in the mid-range, and CEO Ron Renaud will take it gladly. The French giant Sanofi recently handed over a $45 million upfront to partner with Translate, which will now set out to develop messenger RNA vaccines for up to 5 targets. Translate will also be in line for up to $760 million in milestone cash if the work proves successful.

Late on Wednesday, Forty Seven came barreling along with $112 million to add to the total, selling shares at $16. Forty Seven $FTSV came out of the lab of Stanford’s Irv Weissman, and ranks as one of the leaders in the CD47 field in oncology R&D.

These three IPOs follow Neon Therapeutics’ $100 million raise Tuesday.

What do these companies have in common? They are all run by execs with a lengthy track record, backed by some serious investors and have a plausible shot at developing new drugs. And they are all high risk offerings.

The four IPOs already launched this week — for a 6-month total of 33 compared to last year’s 31 — accounted for a fresh windfall of $546 million. As we tallied up on Monday, a batch of biotech IPOs raised $718 million last week, so the 10-day total now comes in at $1.27 billion.

Quickly adding up the previous biotech IPOs we’ve seen so far this year, and you can add $2 billion to that score, with a total of $3.25 billion to date. And that doesn’t include the buy-in from the bankers after the initial raise.

All these new billions are being added to a record run of venture cash now coming in to back a new generation of startups — many of which will soon be looking to file IPOs of their own. Unless, of course, the sudden frenzy runs into a sudden chill.

The common wisdom suggests that we should be in for a summer slowdown, but no one suggested that to Aquestive Therapeutics. The CNS drug developer filed today for a relatively modest $69 million IPO, even though unlike most of these new arrivals on Wall Street the company can actually boast about revenue. The biotech plans to list as $AQST.

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

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