This week’s Nasdaq casino winnings: About $700M for 6 biotech IPOs as shares start moving north

We’re looking at another big round of biotech IPOs for the week. 

My tally of the total haul comes in just shy of $700 million, further evidence that biotech companies can still romp and stomp with the investment community as the run-up of new offerings hits 38 for the year to date.

Biotech unicorn Rubius $RUBY got the bidding started, scoring $241 million and a market cap of $2 billion. Rubius’ shares initially spiked, but closed at $24.55 Thursday evening after pricing at $23 — a modest surge. Crinetics $CRNX was close behind with $102 million, but enjoyed the welcoming party on Nasdaq with shares zooming from a $17 initial price up to $22.66 last night.

In the last day or two we’ve seen four more:

— Replimune $REPL priced at $15, the middle of the range, raising $100.5 million after selling 6.7 million shares. 

The team that originally invented T-Vec , the pioneering oncolytic virus treatment that Amgen bought and pushed to an approval after acquiring BioVex, are still playing in the same field. Only now they feel that they’re leading the next-gen crowd of developers — which is huge. 

— Provention Bio $PRVB gained $64 million selling shares priced at $4 a share.

Provention is following a popular strategy, picking up drugs from the back shelves at Big Pharma. J&J handed over a couple of its drugs to the biotech vets at Provention. And now UCSF’s Jeffrey Bluestone will see if the company can make a go of his diabetes drug teplizumab. Eli Lilly tried and failed badly years ago, but the prominent researcher never stopped hoping that someone would retrieve it from oblivion.

— Allakos $ALLK went big, bagging $128.4 million in cash at $18 a share, breaking out over the top of its $15 to $17 per share range.

Their lead drug targets the inhibitory receptor Siglec-8, found on the surface of mast cells and eosinophils. And Allakos believes it has real potential in a broad range of indications, including eosinophilic gastritis, indolent systemic mastocytosis, urticaria and severe allergic conjunctivitis.

— And Constellation Pharmaceuticals $CNST, one of the older companies in this week’s class, hit the mid-range at $15, raising $60 million on 4 million shares.

After reorganizing, the biotech started a Phase Ib/II study of CPI-1205, an EZH2 inhibitor combined with Yervoy, that they hope will highlight their potential in dialing down gene expression in cancer pathways to enhance immuno-oncology drugs.

We’re supposed to be in line for a summer lull on the market. But aside from skipping the first week in July, the IPO party hasn’t actually stopped…yet.


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

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