IPOs

Turning pharma castoffs into an instant fortune, Vivek Ramaswamy’s Myovant bags a $218M IPO

In a flashback to the bubbly IPO boom of 2014, Myovant Sciences has rung up $218 million in an overnight windfall after pricing 14.5 million shares at $15 a pop — the high end of the range. Shares will start trading today as the market weighs in on Vivek Ramaswamy’s latest overnight Wall Street coup.

The former hedge fund manager turned an Alzheimer’s reject at GlaxoSmithKline into a $315 million IPO for Axovant $AXON last year, steering the failed therapy straight into a Phase III paid for by his investor fans.

This year’s IPO — a record setter for 2016 — is built on a deal with Takeda, which handed over rights to a therapy called relugolix in exchange for a minority stake in the company. That drug is now headed into a trio of late-stage studies for uterine fibroids, endometriosis-associated pain and prostate cancer. Its second drug is RVT-602, an oligopeptide kisspeptin analog for the treatment of female infertility.

That’s the basis of a new women’s health biotech with an inspired cast of leaders. The biotech — created just last June — is being helmed by Lynn Seely, the former CMO at Medivation. And former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sits on the board.

Ramaswamy went into the IPO with a Big Pharma ally in its corner. A couple of days ago Pfizer stepped up along with BB Biotech AG to flag their interest in investing $30 million each into the IPO. Pfizer in exchange gets a front row seat at the company, which currently is manned by a skeleton crew of 9, and first rights to negotiate a deal to buy or license Myovant’s assets.

The market turned chilly toward the end of 2015, then took a brutal turn for biotech as a bear market savaged stocks and thinned the ranks of IPO seekers. Even the latest gene editing offering from CRISPR Therapeutics failed to stay in range recently. But the 30-year-old Ramaswamy has breezed his way to another big score without any of the heavy lifting in R&D and team building that’s usually required to qualify for this kind of reception.

Ramaswamy is still able to mesmerize the faithful with promises of big things to come from high-risk biotech assets. It’s an increasingly rare trait in the industry.


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RAPS Regulatory Convergence 2017