IPOs

Neon joins the biotech IPO fiesta on Nasdaq, bagging $100M in the latest display of enthusiasm for drug developers

Neon Therapeutics just barely made it into the big H1 group of biotech IPOs that’s landed so far this year.

Hopes of helping open a new chapter in cancer therapy with their brand of highly personalized neoantigen vaccines — along with plenty of insider support — got them out of the gate on Nasdaq at $16 a share — landing in the middle of the range with a $100 million raise.

The biotech will start trading today as $NTGN.

Hugh O’Dowd

This is the latest in a remarkably intense hot streak for biotech, with record numbers of drug developers hustling into a market that has proven to be highly accepting of these new, risky ventures. Neon’s IPO marks the 30th so far this year, with one more to go to match the record for all of last year. 

That should come soon with several more biotechs ready to complete their S-1 march any day now. If the industry maintains this pace — and it’s debatable that that is possible — biotech could surpass the 66-IPO high-water mark etched in 2014. 

Neon has spent more than $110 million to get to this stage, following a familiar trail. The company was launched by Third Rock with an impressive roster of scientific advisers at top institutions, helmed by industry vet Hugh O’Dowd, and pushing a cutting-edge technology to defeat cancer — with a new approach that aims to overcome years of setbacks with the first generation of off-the-shelf cancer vaccines.

Over the startup period, Neon has been developing its first peptide-based individualized cancer vaccines, working with the mutations present in each case. Their work has steered them toward a set of cancers like non-small cell lung cancer, which have a high mutation burden and a rich set of individual antigen targets to select from.


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