IPOs in the United States may be lagging overall, but in med-tech we have seen a flurry of IPO activity, sparking some long overdue optimism regarding the health of the industry.
Most recently, Natera, a California-based company, began trading (NASDAQ: NTRA) this past Thursday at $22.10 after pricing 10 million shares of its common stock at $18, the high end of the expected $17 to $18 range. Natera is a genetic testing company that develops non-invasive methods for analyzing DNA.
ConforMIS, a Massachusetts-based company, also received a warm welcome from investors when it began trading last Wednesday (NASDAQ: CFMS) at $18, after pricing its IPO of 9 million shares of common stock at $15 a share, the middle of the expected $14 to $16 range. Shares jumped to a high of $20.42 (a 36% increase over the IPO price) and closed Wednesday at $19.25. ConforMIS has developed a platform technology for making customized joint replacement implants that are individually sized and shaped to fit each patient’s anatomy, based on CT scans.
Other companies that have either gone public already this year or have reported plans to go public include Virginia-based Evolent Health, California-based Glaukos, Maryland-based OpGen, Massachusetts-based Infraredx and RainDance Technologies, California-based Avinger and Invitae,
The interest in the public markets has not been limited to the U.S. either. California-based AirXpanders has set its sights on an IPO in Australia, seeking to raise AU $36.5 million with plans to list on the Australian Securities Exchange. Also, Paris-based Labco reported plans to launch a €545 million ($598 million) IPO in Europe.
Interestingly, not all industries have enjoyed the same trend this year. CohnReznick, an accounting, tax, and advisory firm serving the middle market, reported a drop in IPOs during the first half of 2015. The firm found that 109 IPOs were launched in the first half of the year, a 32% decline compared to the first half of 2014. The firm said activity in the healthcare and life sciences sectors was consistent, however, and represented 43% of all middle market IPO activity compared to 38% in the second quarter 2014.
Time will tell what the current IPO window will mean for the medical device industry as a whole and how long it will last, but it is certainly a welcome trend over the IPO draught that we’ve been used to.