Biotechnology IPOs Are All of a Sudden Cool in 2013

Daniel Faggella

Daniel Faggella is Head of Research at Emerj. Called upon by the United Nations, World Bank, INTERPOL, and leading enterprises, Daniel is a globally sought-after expert on the competitive strategy implications of AI for business and government leaders.

Biotechnology IPOs Are All of a Sudden Cool in 2013


The IPO scene in Biotechnology after 2008 was nearly non-existent, and even last year there were less than a dozen altogether. After Cellular Dynamics International went public in June, five life sciences companies began trading in the same week.

After a serious “bottoming out,” the industry is apparently up nearly 300 percent, with sub-categories of life sciences skyrocketing at apparently fast rates. Companies like Conatus Pharmaceuticals (CNAT), Onconova Therapeutics (ONTX), and Cellular Dynamics International (ICEL) are just now taking off, with recent IPOs like those of Agios Pharmaceuticals ($AGIO) and Heat Biologics ($HTBX) in the mix as well.

Understanding the “why” behind this trend may be difficult to pin down. Is there a “Buzz Word” triggering all of this? Like the 4-minute mile, maybe once somebody does goes public – the rest of the industry believes it’s possible to follow suit. A likely cause of this recent “LifeSci” IPO flood could be the recent successes that might be enticing present investors. Portola (IPO-ed in May of this year) started at $14.50 per share, and is at $23.85 as of today.

Other “wins” include Pearl Therapeutics Inc, who was recently bought out by AstraZeneca for over a $1B. Not too shabby for the 7-year-old company planning to expand their portfolio of respiratory treatment products.

Q3 and Q4 may me more of the same, but with some losers in the mix with with Q1 and Q2’s winners, it’s clear that not all investors will be chomping at the bit.

-Daniel Faggella

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