Markets buzz as another mRNA biotech unicorn looks to carry home a record $800M IPO haul

That other messenger RNA biotech unicorn is looking to jump into Wall Street with an IPO that may seek a record $800 million and a valuation of some $4 billion.

Ugur Sahin, CEO, BioNTech

Bankers are buzzing that Bank of America and JP Morgan have already been tapped for the IPO on behalf of BioNTech, a German biotech that has attracted considerable attention for its role as a leader in the mRNA field, according to a report in Reuters.

Something is bound to be going on here. Reuters’ report comes a few weeks after Bloomberg published a piece on the prospective IPO for BioNTech, citing a possible valuation of $5 billion.

Moderna blazed the IPO $MRNA path for mRNA a little more than 3 months ago, raising $604 million in a historic offering that quickly soured as its stock blew south. But that was just temporary. The stock later climbed back up and now sits at $19.75 with a $6.5 billion market cap.

Early this year Sanofi doubled down on its alliance with the biotech, fronting an expanded pact with $91 million in cash for immunotherapies designed to go after solid tumors. Earlier Pfizer lined up a sizable deal to develop an mRNA flu vaccine, offering cash for an upfront and equity. And a little more than a year ago BioNTech came up with a $270 million round, bringing its total raise at the time to close to $1 billion.

The initial seed money was offered by the billionaire Strüngmann brothers, who are the majority shareholders.

The IPO window remains open for biotechs, but after a big string of new offerings in 2018, the general consensus is that there will be a decline in the number of companies making the leap onto the public stage.



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

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