BioPharma, Startups

Moderna Therapeutics seeks $500M for IPO

If successful, it would be the largest-ever initial public offering for a biotech company. The company raised $500 million in a Series G round in February.

A company developing drugs that target the messenger RNA pathway has filed for what could be the largest-ever initial public offering for a biotech company.

In an S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Therapeutics announced its plans to raise $500 million for an IPO. The company would trade on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol MRNA.

The filing comes nine months after the company closed a $500 million Series G round of private equity financing that gave the company a $7 billion valuation. As of Sept. 30, the company raised $1.8 billion in equity and $800 million through partnerships with companies like AstraZeneca, Merck & Co., Vertex, Alexion and others, according to the filing.

That round, closed on Feb. 1, included investment from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, BB Biotech AG, Julius Baer, Sequoia Capital China and Singapore-based EDBI. Existing investors that took part included Alexandria Venture Investments, ArrowMark Partners, Viking Global Investors, Pictet and Fidelity Management & Research Co.

The company’s areas of therapeutic focus are infectious diseases, immuno-oncology and rare diseases. Product candidates – currently in Phase I clinical testing – include mRNA-1647, a prophylactic vaccine against cytomegalovirus; mRNA-4157, a personalized cancer vaccine for solid tumors; and mRNA-2416, an intratumoral immuno-oncology therapeutic for solid tumors and lymphoma.

Other life sciences companies that have filed for IPOs in recent months have included Allogene Therapeutics, a South San Francisco, California-based firm developing allogeneic CAR-T therapies that filed for a $100 million IPO in September, before announcing last month that it had raised $324 million in gross proceeds. Another company, London-based Orchard Therapeutics, said in an F-1 form – used by non-US companies – that it would seek to raise $172.5 million for its IPO. Also in September, Guardant Health, a Redwood City, California-based company developing liquid biopsy diagnostics, filed with the SEC to raise $100 million for its own IPO.

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