IPOs, People

Jeremy Levin joins the biotech IPO rush, gaining $75M for Ovid’s R&D game plan

Jeremy Levin, Ovid

Jeremy Levin is once again running a public company. His startup Ovid Therapeutics $OVID has successfully launched an IPO, raising $75 million after selling 5 million shares at $15 each — the low end of the range.

The move came as Urogen saw its shares $URGN climb north after raising $58 million in an upsized IPO. But the financial prize of the day went to Biohaven $BHVN, which snagged $168 million after selling 9.9 million shares. Add it all up and you’re looking at the first solid evidence that the IPO window is widening, with more such plays in the offing as some patient companies that have been biding their time start to jump in on the action.

The burst of biotech IPOs comes after the big boom of 2014 and 2015 fizzled into more of a steady trickle. Some analysts had pegged 2017 as a likely repeat of 2016, expecting a couple of dozen IPOs for the year. Now we’ll get to see if the window stays open, or turns stubborn again, making it difficult for these plays come to fruition.

Levin, the former business development chief at Bristol-Myers during its heyday, completed a brief stint as Teva CEO before the board pushed him out of the company and into the biotech startup business.

Ovid’s two chief assets are OV101, now in early-stage testing for Angelman Syndrome and Fragile X, and OV935, in Phase I for epileptic encephalopathies. Two other preclinical programs are still largely under wraps. OV101 came from Lundbeck in the spring of 2015 and the two companies are now 50/50 partners on the development program. And Levin has made it clear that he’d like to do more creative deals on other experimental biopharma assets looking for a home — an increasingly common feature of the startup world, offering a shortcut into late-stage efforts.

Levin greeted the IPO with a cheer.


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