Last year Conkwest was just another small, largely unknown biotech with big plans in immuno-oncology. But after biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong bought in and took the CEO title, renaming the company NantKwest, it's now leaping onto the scene with a record-setting IPO that establishes a market cap baseline at a whopping $2.6 billion.
Non-VC or crossover investors are helping drive the rebound in IPOs among healthcare companies. And it's proving to be a winning strategy for both investors and the newly public companies.
Four years ago, Pankaj Mohan set out to build an independent biosimilars developer. Today, his company, Oncobiologics, is taking the next big step into late-stage work after raising $31 million from some prominent investors willing to back him at a critical point.
Watch out, Alexion. Little Ra Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA, is prepping a clinical study of a new drug that it hopes will one day cut in front of your franchise-building blockbuster Soliris. And the biotech has raised $58.5 million from a lineup of big pharma venture arms and A-list investors to back their clinical bet on a rival to one of the world's most expensive drugs.
Cambridge, MA's RaNA Therapeutics has wrapped up a $55 million B round, putting together the cash it needs to move a pair of novel treatments toward Phase I and build out its internal product engine.
Having committed €73 million ($79 million) to Immunocore's huge fundraising round, Kelly Martin's Malin has now nearly doled out the first tranche of the money it raised in its IPO. And as such the focus at Malin is shifting to helping its portfolio companies to grow, a process that will entail talking up the merits of setting up shop in Ireland.
Vermillion has tapped investors for money to fund the enhancement of its bioinformatics platform. The diagnostics and bioanalytics player pulled in a total of $18.8 million through a stock offering, a slice of which will be ploughed into biotech IT.
The venture money machine backing the biotech industry in the U.S. was operating in overdrive during the second quarter, generating a record amount of investing in new drug development as IPOs continue their romp in the third year of a wide-open market.
The go-go market for biotech IPOs is steaming ahead, pushing two more developers onto Nasdaq with a combined $239 million payoff at above-range prices. And biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong set a price range on his upcoming IPO for NantKwest at $20 to $23 a share, looking to raise around $160 million--or more--based on a company valuation of $2.2 billion.
Overcoming the challenges of creating an oral peptide drug aimed at irritable bowel disease is the business model behind Protagonist Therapeutics, a Milpitas, CA-based biotech that is celebrating a new, $40 million round designed to pay for the early-stage clinical work needed to prove its drug candidate can work in humans.