Two more biotechs queue up for IPOs as valuations waver

Gregory Verdine

Boston biotech Wave Life Sciences and Australian regenerative medicine developer Mesoblast are the latest companies crowding into the ever-tightening IPO window for drugmakers, filing to make Nasdaq debuts amid diminishing returns for like-minded upstarts.

Wave, co-founded by famed Harvard chemist Gregory Verdine, is looking to raise as much as $97.8 million, offering 5 million shares at between $15 and $17 each while setting aside another 750,000 to cover overallotments. With the proceeds, the company intends to support its pipeline of stripped-down nucleic acid therapies, using synthetic chemistry to craft targeted treatments for Huntington's disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and inflammatory bowel disease. Each is on track for human studies in the next two years, the company said.

Mesoblast, already traded on the Australian exchange, is plotting to make its way onto the Nasdaq and raise as much as $80 million in the process. The company hopes to move 5.7 million American depositary shares at $12.10 each, with more than 850,000 extras on deck for its underwriters. Mesoblast's pipeline relies on mesenchymal lineage adult stem cells, or MLCs, and it has 5 such candidates in or ready for Phase III. Teva ($TEVA) is partnered up on Mesoblast's lead treatment for heart failure, and Celgene ($CELG) bought up a $45 million stake in the company this year that gives it the right to join in on R&D in the future.

Meanwhile, Wall Street's once-vibrant reception for biotech debutantes has largely cooled over the past few months, as each IPO has priced at a discount and valuations have dipped. In October, MyoKardia ($MYOK), Dimension Therapeutics ($DMTX) and CytomX Therapeutics ($CTMX) all came through with downsized debuts.

- read Wave's filing
- here's Mesoblast's S-1