Gene Editing, IPOs

Works in mice? It’s a winner for Homology as IPO reaps $144M haul, with biotech on a roll

Gene editing remains one of the hottest games in biopharma, well before we get to see any human data from clinical trials.

Tuesday evening Bedford, MA-based Homology Medicines came up with a $144 million catch, pricing a seriously upsized offering of 9 million shares at $16 a pop, the high end of the range.

Shares will start trading tomorrow under the $FIXX symbol.

Arthur Tzianabos, Homology Medicines

Homology’s claim to fame is its new gene editing tech, steering around CRISPR in favor of using viral vectors to deliver snippets of DNA where needed. As of now that’s only been done in mice, but they signed Novartis as a partner and it was all good enough for the biotech’s backers. Homology had initially pencilled in $100 million for the goal, but a slate of IPOs in Q1 has delivered some hefty premiums well past their initial estimates.

Biotech IPOs have been running strong throughout the first quarter, with well heeled insiders helping push up the stock prices for the new class of biotech graduates. That follows a strong surge of IPOs in H2 last year, and many of these new biotechs are lean on clinical trial data, if they have any at all. The big question now is how long the public market will continue to deliver billions to early-stage biotechs, as their interest tends to run a cyclical course.

Homology has raised $137 million earlier from a syndicate that now includes 5AM Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, Deerfield, Temasek, Fidelity Management & Research, or FMR, Novartis, Rock Springs Capital, VIVO, HBM Partners, Maverick and Vida. 5AM owns the biggest chunk of stock, with 24.8%, while Arch is in for 22.4%.


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