Radiopharma biotech Telix drops $200M Nasdaq IPO plans at last minute

Investors celebrating the summer resurgence of biotech IPOs might want to put the champagne back on ice, after Telix Pharmaceuticals made the last-minute decision to pull its own Nasdaq listing.

The radiopharma-focused biotech, which has been listed on the Australian Securities Exchange since 2017, had been due to join the Nasdaq this morning. As recently as last week, Telix said it expected the initial offering to stretch to 17 million American depository shares (ADSs), which would bring in $183 million—or $211 million if underwriters took up the option to buy an additional 15% of ADSs.

But, in a surprise move, the company announced in a June 14 statement that it is withdrawing its Nasdaq IPO.

“Given the proposed Nasdaq listing was not predicated on the need to raise capital, Telix’s management and board of directors have decided not to move forward with the transaction at the terms provided under current market conditions,” the company said in its release.

“The company did not feel that the proposed discounts were aligned with its duty to its existing shareholders,” it added.

“While this is not our desired outcome, Telix’s strategic objectives must align with our duty to existing shareholders,” Telix Managing Director and Group CEO Christian Behrenbruch, Ph.D., said in the release. “I’d like to thank my team for the personal commitment and incredibly long hours put into this IPO process.”

Since Telix first set out its Nasdaq ambitions at the start of the year, the company pointed out that its share price rise had risen from 9.53 Australian dollars to AU$16.46 by market close Wednesday.

The biotech attributed this “significant share price appreciation” this year to a number of factors, including positive readouts from its pipeline of radiopharmaceuticals as well as “several successful strategic acquisitions” that included radionuclides company ARTMS and radiopharma biotech QSAM Biosciences along with FDA approval applications for renal cell carcinoma radiodiagnostic Zircaix and prostate cancer imaging agent TLX007-CDx.

Alongside the healthy Australian share price, Telix stressed that it is already a “profitable, cash generative company,” which has “sufficient earnings and balance sheet capacity” to deliver on its key goals of launching Zircaix, TLX007-CDx and the brain cancer imaging agent Pixclara in the U.S.

Telix’s lead radio antibody-drug conjugate, dubbed TLX591, is currently being examined in a phase 2/3 global study for patients with prostate cancer. 

While January and February saw a resurgence of interest in biotechs taking the IPO route, a Fierce Biotech analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ in early May showed that only one of these—CG Oncology—was still trading above its IPO price.

However, while the IPO window appeared to close again in the spring, recent weeks have seen a few companies express an interest in a Nasdaq listing. Rapport Therapeutics went public on June 7 at an offer price of $17 per share, and the epilepsy biotech was trading up at $23.05 by market close June 13.