IPOs

Mersana scores a $75M IPO as Wall Street continues to embrace biotech

The market’s embrace of new biotech listings is holding strong.

Mersana Therapeutics was the latest to cross the IPO line, raising $75 million after selling 5 million shares at $15 — the middle of the range it set for itself. And the Cambridge, MA-based biotech can add substantially to that, if underwriters pick up an additional 750,000 additional shares $MRSN.

Anna Protopapas

The biotech — helmed by the high profile biotech vet and former Millennium chief Anna Protopapas — boasts a new and different kind of linker tech that is designed to create new cluster bombs that can be aimed at cancer. If they’re right, the company hopes to tackle a variety of goals, including going after cancer with only a light expression of HER2.

Current antibody-drug conjugates — or armed antibodies — can be limited to just a few therapies; Mersana believes it can link up with 12 to 15, including some in-house drugs. And that profile helped attract Takeda, which acquired Millennium years ago, to come in on a sizable collaboration.

It’s still at a very early stage of development, though, which has been a tough sell for risk-averse investors since the biotech IPO boom faded away. A lineup of biotechs have been making the jump in recent weeks, though, combining with a recent rally for industry stocks to perk up expectations. Biohaven $BHVN, backed by some key crossover investors like RA, was one standout in the current crop of offerings. Mersana’s successful outing on Nasdaq will likely keep that trend rolling, at least for awhile.


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