(Bloomberg) -- Moderna Inc. raised about $604 million in the year’s biggest initial public offering by a biotechnology company.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, which doesn’t have any approved drugs, expanded the size of the offering to sell almost 26.3 million shares at $23 apiece, within the marketed range of $22 to $24, according to a statement. The offering gives Moderna a market value at IPO of about $7.85 billion, topping the $7 billion valuation it got in a $500 million private funding round in February.
Thursday’s offering caps a surge this year of biotechnology listings, with 77 raising $7 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The largest was October’s Hong Kong IPO by Innovent Biologics Inc., which raised HK$3.3 billion ($421 million) and had ranked as the fifth-biggest biotechnology listing in history. While Innovent’s shares have risen 55 percent since its Oct. 23 IPO, it’s valued at $3.2 billion -- less than half that of Moderna.
Moderna is researching how to make personalized cancer vaccines using messenger-RNA, the nucleic acid that transmits genetic information for the production of proteins within a cell. The company, established in 2010, has 21 programs in development, including one in a second-phase clinical study.
The company plans to use proceeds from a share sale to fund drug discovery and clinical development, according to a regulatory filing. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Moderna lost $243 million on revenue of $100 million, compared with a net loss of $218 million on $114 million in revenue for the same period last year, the filing shows.
The company has strategic alliances with other drugmakers including AstraZeneca Plc, Merck & Co. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., according to its filing.
Moderna was one of biotech’s most highly watched so-called unicorns, having raised more than $2.6 billion as a private company including the $500 million round this year. Startups that study drugs typically have to go public earlier in their corporate life cycles to fund their research operations. Moderna had been one of the few exceptions to that rule, raising private funding rounds that dwarfed typical financings.
There are at least seven other biotech unicorns in the U.S., according to Pitchbook and data compiled by Bloomberg. Roivant Sciences Ltd., backed by the SoftBank Vision Fund, said after a $200 million fundraising round in November that it was valued at $7 billion.
Banks including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co led the offering. The company plans to list its shares Friday on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol MRNA, according to the statement. The underwriters have the option to buy up to 3.9 million more shares at the IPO price, Moderna said.
Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel participated in each of Moderna’s capital raises on the same terms as other investors, according to the company’s filing. Through investment vehicles, Bancel has purchased a total of $3.9 million of preferred shares. His stake, which includes stock he owns directly, is worth $712 million at the IPO price.
One of Moderna’s earliest backers, Flagship Pioneering, is benefiting the most from the listing. The firm created Moderna in 2010, according to the filing, and in its earliest days was the driving force behind its science. It owned about 20 percent of the company, according to the filing. That stake is now worth about about $1.35 billion.
(Updates with underwriters’ option in ninth paragraph.)
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