Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

Recently, I noticed that oncology companies are in the news for raising new financing or even announcing IPO's, and wondered if that was an anomaly after the credit shutdown following the Wall St crisis.  In general, my perception was that they seemed to be down overall.  To find out more, I checked out the VC funding statistics at OnBioVC:

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Surprisingly, oncology dominates the market at the moment, with the latest data being available from 3Q09: nearly one-third were from oncology alone during that period.  According to the report, they represented:

"… a diverse therapeutic approach; from small molecules targeting the inhibition of receptor tyrosine kinase to HDAC to metallo-enzymes to PI3K and mTOR, as well as a variety of mAb’s and therapeutic vaccines."

In more terms, though, the aggregated dollars raised per sector is significantly down over the same period in 2008:

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But overall, the total number of financings for Biotech are up, thanks to a strong growth in the medical device sector, although the biopharma sector is down slightly:

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Last October, Auxilium received proceeds, net of offering expenses and underwriting discounts and commissions, of approximately $115.7 million.  The company closed its previously announced public offering of 3,000,000 shares of common stock at a price of $34.50 per share.

Meanwhile, last week was a busy one. 

Firstly, Ironwood raised $188M from their IPO in one of the biggest deals of the decade (more than Eyetech's $150M in 2004) by selling over 16M of shares at a price of $11.25.  It was, however, perceived to be a discount price, because their SEC filings in November hoped for a higher target of $14-16/share.  As a friend commented last week, "Well, $188M isn't chump change!"

Secondly, Reuters reported that the private French Biotech company, AB Science,

"is preparing for a 50 million euro ($70 million) initial public offering next month in a move that could make it France's first biotech stock exchange listing since mid-2008."

What's interesting about AB Science is that the company have yet to officially announce or confirm the date of the IPO, although they made clear their intent to pursue one in 1Q10 when we interviewed Alain Moussy, the CEO, in October. 

The company has an interesting KIT inhibitor on the market in Europe, masitinib, for mastocytosis in dogs and is now developing the drug in pancreatic cancer for humans.  In order to fund the phase III trials, more financing is needed so the IPO is clearly a sign that the company is going places.

This week heralds the annual BIO CEO meeting in New York, where there will doubt be a lot of interesting discussions and presentations going on.  The schedule is packed with a quite a few oncology focused companies, so more news will be covered on this blog later this week as details emerge.  Sadly, I will miss the event, as I'll be at the ePharma meeting in Philadelphia.  More on that tomorrow!

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5 Responses to “The Biotech IPO isn't dead yet!”

  1. MaverickNY

    Excellent, Adam!
    I love onBioVC reports and look forward to the year end 2009 one next week.
    Keep up the great work!

  2. Samiksha Tondon

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff on your post

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