IPO Drought Ends With Two Biotech Deals

In the first U.S. offerings since December, U.S. and Chinese biotech firms raised about $252 million.
Katie Kuehner-HebertFebruary 3, 2016

The U.S. IPO drought ended Tuesday with the offerings of two biotech firms, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Editas Medicine of Cambridge, Mass., raised $94.4 million, and Beijing-based BeiGene raised about $158 million in the U.S. IPO market, sources familiar with each offering told the WSJ.

The deals are the first U.S.-listed IPOs since Dec. 17, when Chinese peer-to-peer lender Yirendai Ltd. raised $75 million in its stock-market debut, according to Dealogic. January was the first month without any IPOs since September 2011.

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“Even for the highest-quality companies, there is less demand than there was a few months ago for IPOs,” Ziad Bakri, a health-care analyst at mutual-fund firm T. Rowe Price, told the WSJ. “It’s very tough.”

However, sources told the WSJ that the BeiGene and Editas deals should be helped by current investors buying more shares in the IPOs. According to regulatory filings, two existing BeiGene shareholders, Hillhouse BGN Holdings and Baker Bros. Advisors, had indicated an interest in purchasing 50% of the shares in the offering. Current investors in Editas include Deerfield Management, Fidelity Investments, and T. Rowe Price.

Most biotech IPOs follow this pattern. According to Renaissance Capital, nearly three-quarters of biotech IPOs have had pre-IPO investors buy additional shares in the IPO deal since the start of 2014, and the average buying by such existing investors for all biotech IPOs has been 21%.

In comparison, non-biotech IPOs have had pre-IPO buyers for just 13% of the offerings, with the average stake in the IPO for such buyers totaling 3%.

BeiGene sold 6.6 million American depositary shares at $24 apiece, a source told the WSJ. The company said in a news release it had planned to raise about $127 million by selling 5.5 million American depositary shares at $22 to $24 apiece.

Editas sold 5.9 million shares at $16 apiece, a source told the WSJ. The company said in a news release it had planned to raise more than $100 million by selling 5.9 million shares between $16 and $18 a share.

Editas and BeiGene on Wednesday began trading on the Nasdaq under the symbols “EDIT” and “BGNE,” respectively.