German immunotherapy developer BioNTech (BNTX) raised $150 million in a US IPO that values the company at $3.4 billion. Despite pricing below its last round, BioNTech is the third-largest biotech to list in the past decade.
BioNTech is the latest in a series of large biotechs going public in the US. Along with immunotherapy developers Moderna and Genmab, the three largest biotech IPOs of the past decade have all hit the market in the past 11 months. Assuming this week's Vir Biotechnology (VIR) prices within the IPO range, nine biotechs will have IPO'd at valuations of $2+ billion over the past 10 years, seven of which came to market in 2018/2019. These largest biotechs have had mixed success. The seven that have traded averaged a first-day return of 25%, with only one trading down on its debut, fellow mRNA biotech Moderna. They have averaged a total return of 28% from the offer price. 2015 IPO NantKwest has been the worst performer with a -95% loss, while 2014 IPO Juno Therapeutics notched a 262% return from its IPO to its 2018 acquisition by Celgene.
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*US IPO of a biotech listed in Europe. †Return from IPO to 2018 acquisition by Celgene.
BioNTech’s immunotherapy pipeline has over 20 product candidates, with eight cancer therapies in clinical trials. Lead candidate BNT122 is an mRNA therapy for melanoma being co-developed with Genentech. It has five more mRNA programs, and three antibodies are in development. Like last year's mega biotech IPO Moderna, BioNTech is betting that mRNA will represent a new class of drugs with a potential market size of $100+ billion by some estimates. The biotech also has a preclinical program of engineered cell therapies and small molecule immunomodulators. Post-IPO, the firm will have more than $700 million in cash to develop its extensive pipeline. The company is backed by the family office of German billionaires Thomas and Andreas Strüngmann (49% post-IPO stake). It is managed by CEO Ugur Sahin, who co-founded the company in 2008 and previously co-founded the translational oncology research institute TRON.The article BioNTech's IPO values it at $3.4 billion in one of the largest biotech listings of all time originally appeared on IPO investment manager Renaissance Capital's web site renaissancecapital.com.
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