PureTech banks $171M in a London IPO to fund its biotech bets

Daphne Zohar

Biotech startup engine PureTech pulled off a $171 million IPO on the London Stock Exchange, crossing the Atlantic to raise cash for its hybrid approach to venture investing.

The company priced about 68 million shares at 160 pence ($2.54) apiece, setting its market cap at £363.6 million ($574.8 million). PureTech set aside another 10 million shares for its bookrunners to cover overallotments, giving it a maximum deal value of nearly $200 million.

With the cash, PureTech and its high-profile board will press forward with a novel take on biotech entrepreneurship. Unlike other industry investors, PureTech's model is not dependent on external innovation. Instead, the group begins by identifying a problem in healthcare and breaking it down to its core attributes, tapping its wide range of on-hand expertise to spotlight potential solutions. Only then does PureTech look outside its walls, finding the partners necessary to advance the solution and crafting a company to actualize it.

PureTech's 12-company pipeline includes Vedanta, a microbiomics player partnered with Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ); Tal Medical, a FierceMedicalDevices Fierce 15 winner developing a noninvasive treatment for depression; and Akili Interactive Labs, at work on a video game with potential to treat ADHD that has attracted the attention of Pfizer and Shire ($SHPG).

Led by CEO Daphne Zohar, PureTech relies on a brain trust including MIT professor and famed biotech entrepreneur Robert Langer, ex-Sanofi ($SNY) CEO Chris Viehbacher and John LaMattina, the former head of R&D for Pfizer ($PFE).

PureTech decided to list in London after realizing "the U.K. was the best place for us because investors understand the model," Zohar told the Financial Times last month. The pace of biotech IPOs in the U.K. hardly rivals that of the U.S., but Circassia's roughly $334 million raise last year helped galvanize more local companies to consider domestic debuts. As a stateside biotech looking to London, PureTech follows Verseon and Allied Minds among IPO expatriates.

- read the announcement