Moderna to raise US$604m in upsized IPO, braving market jitters

09 Décembre, 2018, 20:57 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • A researcher in a lab

Just last week in its S-1/A amended registration statement, Moderna predicted it would sell 21,739,131 shares, even as it registered an even 25 million shares-a figure that included 3,260,869 shares that the IPO's underwriters had an option to purchase.

Moderna Therapeutics started trading Friday in its intial public offering under the ticker "MRNA".

Moderna is expected to set a price for its shares and sell them after the market closes Thursday, the eve of its trading debut.

With the dust settled on the IPO, all eyes will now turn to how well Moderna's shares will perform in the coming weeks and months.

Moderna Therapeutics Inc is staging one of the biggest stock-market debuts for a biotechnology company in US IPO history with plans to raise up to $600 million.

No mRNA medicines have ever been approved to date by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or other regulatory agency, marking the regulatory path uncertain, the company said.

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Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna, one of the most highly valued startups in health care, is trying to develop a new kind of drug and vaccine using the body's own cellular machinery to protect against or even fight off disease.

The company is focused on discovery and development of messenger RNA, or mRNA, therapeutics and vaccines created to direct the body's cells to produce intracellular or secreted proteins with a therapeutic or preventive benefit. According to Moderna, its "approach is to use mRNA medicines to instruct a patient's own cells to produce proteins that could prevent, treat, or cure disease". As of September 30, it had raised $1.8 billion in equity and $800 million through partnerships with companies like AstraZeneca, Merck & Co., Vertex, Alexion and others, according to the S-1 filing.

Morgan Stanley & Co LLC, Goldman Sachs & Co LLC and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC are among the lead underwriting banks for Moderna's IPO. The company is years away from actual product sales, but Moderna now depends on revenue from grants and its collaborations with other companies, which totaled just over $200 million.

The company was founded in 2009 and now has 21 drug and vaccine research programs, including 10 being tested in humans. Also in Phase I development are a mRNA-4157, a PCV-targeting cancer vaccine for solid tumors partnered with Merck & Co., and an OX40L-targeting drug, mRNA-2416, for which Moderna retains global rights for development in solid tumors and lymphoma. The company as a whole is valued at around $7.5 billion as a result.

More IPOs of big, unlisted technology companies are expected.

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