A pair of upsized IPOs packed away cash by way of identical terms, with Boston-based Akouos Inc. and Fusion Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Hamilton, Ontario, separately selling 12.5 million shares at $17 each for $212.5 million in gross proceeds.
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.
With Moderna Inc. leading the charge with its work on a COVID-19 vaccine, the market is feeling its oats as companies go after money sitting on the sidelines. One of the biggest financings to price this week is San Diego-based Turning Point Therapeutics Inc.’s underwritten public offering of common stock at $60 per share for gross proceeds expected at about $325 million.
Although public offerings slowed considerably in March as a result of the steepest stock market declines in history during that period, global biopharmaceutical companies managed to collectively generate just over $16 billion in the first quarter from a record number public and private transactions. Only the first quarter of 2018 saw more cash raised in the past decade, according to BioWorld data.
Infectious disease has been rough going for all comers the past few years, as companies have floundered. Appili Therapeutics Inc.’s CEO, Armand Balboni saw the troubles others encountered with the indication and also saw companies with thin pipelines struggle, but it hasn’t stopped him from forging on.
Investors in small and midsized biopharma companies were certainly rewarded in 2019, with group members in the BioWorld Drug Developers index on a tear. The price-weighted index returned 40% in value thanks to a steady flow of positive regulatory and clinical trial results from the companies throughout the year. However, investors may be less impressed with the start they have made this year, with the index dipping 8.4% in January.
Although investor sentiment continues to remain low and unlikely to change for the remainder of the year, it seems that fact has fallen on deaf ears of those companies looking to graduate to the public ranks. Already in the first few days of September, five biopharma companies have added themselves to the IPO runway, bringing the number of pending U.S. offerings to 12, according to BioWorld.