Money raised through biopharma financings so far in 2020 is double the amount raised within the same timeframe of 2019, partly due to two large financings completed in May by Sanofi SA, which is working on candidates to treat or prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
In total, biopharma financings overall have raised $46.9 billion in 2020, including $1.5 billion so far in June. That is a 99.8% increase over the $23 billion raised by this point in 2019. About $13 billion raised in May went to Sanofi and three other companies working on therapeutics or vaccines for the coronavirus pandemic. In total, the month of May brought in $23.4 billion.
Three IPOs in May have raised a combined $562.6 million. All were done by companies headquartered outside of the U.S. Both ADC Therapeutics SA, of Lausanne, Switzerland, and Ayala Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Rehovot, Israel, went public on the Nasdaq National Market, raising $267.6 million and $55 million, respectively. A third company, Suzhou, China-based Kintor Pharmaceutical Ltd. raised $240 million through its debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. ADC’s IPO is the 12th largest in the past 22 years, according to BioWorld data.
A total of 20 IPOs January through May brought in $3.54 billion for the industry, and another 20 remain pending, including 12 that are targeting U.S. markets.
Biopharma companies completed 41 follow-on offerings and raised a total of $13.7 billion in May, making it the best month for the year, in which a total of 133 follow-ons raised $24 billion.
Six of the offerings in May raised $500 million or more, with the two largest involving companies working on vaccines for COVID-19. Paris-based Sanofi sold 11.8 million shares it owned in Regeneron Inc., a company also working on therapies for COVID-19, raising $6.07 billion toward the end of the month. Cambridge, Mass.-based Moderna Inc. sold 17.6 million shares raising $1.34 billion, making it the largest traditional follow-on offering to date.
Sanofi expects to enter a phase I trial in the second half of 2020 with its adjuvanted recombinant subunit vaccine partnered with Glaxosmithkline plc. Its unit, Sanofi Pasteur, is also working on an mRNA vaccine in partnership with Translate Bio Inc. Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine is in phase II.
Other large follow-on offerings in May were within the top 20 largest, according to BioWorld’s database, and completed by Breda, the Netherlands-based Argenx SE, which raised $642.65 million, the 15th largest follow-on; San Carlos, Calif.-based Iovance Biotherapeutics Inc., which raised $603.7 million, the 18th largest follow-on; Brisbane, Calif.-based Myokardia Inc., which raised $551.25 million; and Cambridge, Mass.-based Bluebird Bio Inc., which raised $500 million.
Private financings of public companies (public/other) brought the industry $7.4 billion during the month of May and included another huge raise for Sanofi in which Regeneron repurchased 9.8 million shares at $515 each, giving the French company an additional $5 billion. There was a total of 67 public/other financings in May, the highest amount for any one month in 2020, which has a total of 250. The total amount raised in the first five months is $10.8 billion, with May accounting for about 69%.
Aside from the share repurchase, three of the largest private placements during the month include $550 million in notes for San Rafael, Calif.-based Biomarin Pharmaceuticals Inc., $388.9 million in notes for Waltham, Mass.-based Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and $341.9 million in shares for Allschwil, Switzerland-based Idorsia Ltd. The Idorsia placement is the fourth largest private placement of shares, according to BioWorld data.
Concurrent with the follow-on offering, Argenx also raised $220.1 million in a European private placement. It was the second public/other financing in May to make the top 20 list with a ranking of 14.
In terms of venture capital financings, biopharma companies raised $1.69 billion through 38 rounds in May. For the first five months of the year, the totals were $8.02 billion and 196. The largest VC rounds raised $215 million in a series D for Boston-based Atea Pharmaceuticals Inc., $145 million in a series B for New Haven, Conn.-based Rallybio Inc. and $143 million in a series B for South San Francisco-based Insitro Inc.
Some of the companies raising large amounts privately are focused on candidates for COVID-19. Apellis began a 66-patient phase I study in May of APL-9, its C3 inhibitor, in COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure; and Atea is working on its COVID-19 antiviral AT-527, an oral, purine nucleotide prodrug. The FDA has cleared the IND for a phase II trial of AT-527 in patients with moderate coronavirus disease.
For a complete listing of financings this year, see the following within BioWorld Snapshots:
Biopharma financings and stocks data for 2020 through June 4 can be found here: