Preclinical gene editing biotech Metagenomi outlines modest $87M IPO ambitions

With the IPO window now firmly wedged open, Metagenomi is the latest biotech to set out expectations for going public—even if they are slightly more modest than peers have seen in recent weeks.

The Moderna-backed company had been hinting at an IPO throughout the second half of 2023 before confirming early in the new year plans to go public.

Now, the genetic medicines biotech has revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this morning that it’s looking to sell 6.25 million shares priced between $15 and $17 apiece. Assuming the final share price falls in the middle of this range, the raise would bring in $86.9 million in gross proceeds—rising to $100.9 million if underwriters take up their 30-day option to buy an additional 937,500 shares.

That estimated haul falls slightly below the pre-listing expectations of the four biotechs that have already gone public this year, which ranged from $99 million from Fractyl Health to $181.1 million by CG Oncology.

There have already been some notable success stories this year, with CG in particular seeing its share price almost double on the first day of trading, while Alto Neuroscience's stock rose almost 30% after its Friday debut.

Fractyl Health, which also went public on Friday, did not fare as well, with the metabolic disease company's shares losing over 14% in value on the first day. Like Metagenomi, Fractyl doesn’t have any FDA-approved products in its portfolio, although it does at least have an endoscopic procedure licensed in Germany.

That means Metagenomi will be the first true test of whether the public markets will warm to a preclinical biotech in the current environment. Led by CEO and founder Brian Thomas, Ph.D., Metagenomi is using next-generation gene editing technology to develop potentially curative therapies. The biotech’s metagenomics-powered discovery platform finds novel cellular machinery sourced from otherwise unknown organisms.

The company’s in vivo pipeline spans metabolic disease, hemophilia A, cardiovascular disease, central nervous system diseases and cystic fibrosis. The ex vivo targets are both in immuno-oncology. All are in preclinical development.

Metagenomi has signed a couple of high-profile deals, including a Moderna pact that saw the famed mRNA company finally enter into gene editing. Ionis Pharmaceuticals also snagged a slot with the gene editor, inking a collaboration that could add up to $3 billion all told.

Analysts told Fierce Biotech last month that the successful public market debuts of CG and ArriVent suggested the biotech sector will be going through a “recovery phase” this year.