Financing is the fuel that drives growth in the biopharma sector, and participants at the BIO Asia-Taiwan Conference 2021 this week discussed different financing strategies for companies in the currently booming market.
Maintaining momentum for a rush of 2021 IPOs already on pace to beat 2020's record number, new offerings from Graphite Bio Inc., GH Research plc and Elevation Oncology Inc. raised nearly $500 million altogether on Friday. While shares of the first two fared well, climbing in their debuts, Elevation's shares (NASDAQ:ELEV) fell from $16 debut to $11.44 at the close, a 28.5% decline.
Versant Ventures has closed three new funds with an aggregate raise of $950 million to allocate to the next wave of innovative startups across North America and Europe. The money is new, but everything else is more or less unchanged. “It’s the same strategy, same team, same geography, same operational model,” Versant chairman and managing director Brad Bolzon told BioWorld.
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Inc. priced its IPO at a level that, with anticipated gross proceeds of $436.4 million, would make it 2021’s second largest biopharma IPO and the eighth largest ever. Salt Lake City-based Recursion’s shares (NASDAQ:RXRX) were priced at $18 each when the market opened and closed April 16’s trading 73.89% higher at $31.30 each.
Three companies set terms for their IPOs that, if launched, will go far in maintaining the year’s already powerful momentum. Largest of the three comes from Design Therapeutics Inc., which looks to raise net proceeds of $209.1 million to fund its Friedreich’s ataxia program through IND studies and a phase I trial.
DUBLIN – Sofinnova Partners closed out its crossover fund at €445 million (US$535 million), a total, it said, that makes it Europe’s largest crossover investor in biotech. It’s almost three years since Paris-based Sofinnova Partners completed an initial close at €275 million. “We didn’t set a bar – we thought between €250 million and €400 million would be great,” Antoine Papiernik, chairman and managing partner at Sofinnova, told BioWorld.
In the opening panel of the BIO CEO & Investor digital conference BIO president and CEO Michelle McMurry-Heath explored some of the key issues that are currently impacting the sector with Adena Friedman, president and CEO of Nasdaq, which, this month, marks the 50th anniversary of its launch in 1971.
The week finished with flurry of biotech IPOs, seven of them, a record number in a single day, according to BioWorld stats. Last year was a record year for IPOs as 106 new offerings were completed and raised $22.5 billion, more than double the previous record of $10.7 billion set in 2018. The seven companies that priced Feb. 5 are anticipating total gross proceeds of about $1.06 billion.
The appetite for biopharma IPOs this year has been voracious with no signs of a slowdown anytime soon. Year-to-date, a total of $14.63 billion was raised from 66 new global issues, a total that is already well ahead of the $10.7 billion in 2018, from 80 transactions, that represented the previous record for IPOs. In terms of volume, BioWorld has recorded that the highest number of IPOs in a single year was 84 in 2014, followed by 83 in 2000.
LONDON – Facing down the pandemic, U.K. biopharma had a record summer, raising just over £1 billion (US$1.3 billion) from June to August. That was up from £585 million in the second quarter of 2020, and brings the amount raised in the first nine months to £1.9 billion, putting 2020 on target to beat the 2018 record, when the annual total was £2.2 billion.