In 2013, biotech toasted its warmest Wall Street reception since the frothy days of the early millennium, helping more than 45 drug developers pull off IPOs that brought in more than $3 billion to support their R&D efforts.
By the waning days of the year, many industry watchers cried bubble on the still-churning market for drugmakers, pointing to a growing queue of entrants with eyes on early 2014 and guessing as to just which one would finally break biotech's bullish spine.
But instead of buckling under all that weight, biotech blew up in 2014. In the first quarter alone, 29 life sciences companies went public, bringing in $2.1 billion. By the middle of the year, 2014 had proven more lucrative than its predecessor, as seemingly every outfit with a small molecule and an on-file S-1 found underwriters willing to carry it to market.
The months since haven't all been barnburners, of course. Concerns over drug pricing and mounting regulatory hurdles for some of biotech's largest players dented the whole sector's value in the second quarter, and trickle-down jitters forced many biotechs to take deep discounts while forcing others to put off offerings altogether. A feast-or-famine third quarter led to much of the same, with a steady stream of startups lining up for offerings that ranged from shaky to stellar.
Through it all, though, the window has stayed open.
And thus this list is our somewhat subjective ranking of the year's most successful biotech IPOs, for which we took a look at pricing compared to range, overall amount raised and postpricing performance. -- Damian Garde (email | Twitter)