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Public Company Edition: While panelists at Biotech Showcase argued merging with a special purpose acquisition corporation is not as attractive as it used to be, firms continue to pursue this go-public alternative. Also, Hillstream launched a small IPO and Cytokinetics accessed cash from Royalty Pharma.
In a vote of confidence, investors predict Shanghai IPOs to rise in 2022, while sluggish share performances in Hong Kong have made a public listing there more “a liquidity rather than an exit event.”
Private Company Edition: NVCA and Pitchbook data show pharma and biotech companies raised $37.8bn in venture capital in 2021, up 41% from the record $26.8bn total in 2020. Recent mega-rounds include $190m for Maze and $200m for Alumis, and Sound Bioventures raised a €110m fund.
Jiangsu Yahong and 11 Chinese biotechs raised a combined $1.1bn via public listings and VC/PE deals in the run-up to and first week of the new year.
Initial public offering momentum decelerated as stock prices declined last year, but even with lower valuations making M&A more attractive, the IPO market this year is expected to be active.
Eikon launched in 2021 with $148m in series A venture capital and former Merck R&D head Roger Perlmutter as its CEO, but even with half a billion dollars in fresh cash, the firm has not revealed its therapeutic focus.
Hoping to bring a candidate for the alpha-1 disorder into the clinic in 2023, Korro’s latest funding is meant to enable development of a rare CNS disorder drug and a third drug for a more prevalent indication.
Public Company Edition: Mergers with special purpose acquisition corporations also continue to take companies public, with three new SPAC offerings in late 2021. Also, Xeris raised $30m in a private placement of stock to support its recently approved drug and Sirnaomics went public in Hong Kong.
Private Company Edition: Omega Funds closed its seventh venture capital fund, far exceeding its $500m goal. Also, Anaveon raised a CHF110m ($119.8m) series B round, Ambys brought its series A total to $107m with $47m in additional investment and Mythic launched with a $103m series B round.
Merging with a special purpose acquisition corporation is a viable funding tool, but it may not be the best choice for drug developers far from key milestones.
BeiGene’s $3.5bn Shanghai IPO and CANbridge’s Hong Kong listing, as well as Dizal’s offering on the STAR market and five financing rounds totaling $508.5m help set a record for Chinese biotech fundraising in the last month of 2021.
Public Company Edition: Genenta, Cingulate, ImmixBio, Bionomics and NeuroSense launched initial public offerings, grossing just $118m between them. But Amylyx, with a recently filed ALS drug, has filed to raise up to $100m. In follow-on offerings, Legend took advantage of ASH goodwill to raise $300m.
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