As Wall Street vacillates on the whole biotech sector, each week becomes an unwitting referendum on just how long the IPO window for drug developers might stay open. Voyager Therapeutics ($VYGR) and Wave Life Sciences ($WVE), raising a combined $172 million this week, demonstrated that biotech's years-long boom on the public markets is not quite through.
Voyager, like most biotech debutantes of the past few months, priced below its previously expected range, raising $70 million by moving 5 million shares at $14 each. The company had earlier projected pricing at between $15 and $17 a share. Wave, on the other hand, priced right at its expected midpoint, putting up about 6.4 million shares at $16 each to raise $102 million.
For Voyager, a 2014 Fierce 15 honoree, the funds will support its Sanofi ($SNY)-partnered gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, now in Phase I, plus early-stage programs for Friedreich's ataxia, ALS, Huntington's disease and spinal muscular atrophy.
Wave, co-founded by famed Harvard chemist Gregory Verdine, is developing a pipeline of nucleic acid therapies, using synthetic chemistry to craft targeted treatments for Huntington's disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and inflammatory bowel disease. All of Wave's assets are in preclinical study, and the company expects to file new drug applications for each over the next two years.
The two pricings, coming at or near each company's expected valuations, stand in contrast to biotech's recent run of IPO form. MyoKardia ($MYOK), Dimension Therapeutics ($DMTX), CytomX Therapeutics ($CTMX) and others have all gone public at steep discounts over the past two months, as investors' once-cheery reception for biotechs has largely cooled.
- read the Voyager statement
- here's Wave's release