Seven months after reeling in $700 million in a venture round, Sana Biotechnology makes a debut in Wall Street with a $587.5 million IPO. The proceeds will fund the development of the company’s in vivo and ex vivo cell engineering technology and push the pipeline drugs through preclinical work.
The figure raised by the company through IPO was not originally sought after. In January, Sana planned to raise $150 million but decided to increase that to $397 million and then to $607 million thereafter. However, the numbers earned today are lower than expected as the company sold fewer shares than it had planned to at a slightly higher price.
Sana sold 23,500,000 shares at $25 apiece rather than the planned 25,300,000 shares at $24 apiece. Nevertheless, coupled with its venture funding, Sana has hit the Nasdaq with one of the largest valuations-$4.6 billion-in the biotech industry’s history.
A Crack at a Record IPO
This number puts Sana just below Moderna’s record debut figure of $604 million in 2018. But Sana still has a chance to top this number as it is offering an additional 30-day option to the underwriters for purchasing 3.525 million shares, which, when sold, would bring the total amount raised to $675.6 million.
The interest in cell and gene therapies is growing rapidly as many big investors are now backing companies developing them. Sana also managed to impress these investors who invested $700 million last year. These big names include ARCH Venture Partners & F-Prime Capital and Flagship Pioneering. After IPO closes, these investors combined will own 43% of Sana’s shares.
According to the securities filing, Sana is planning to use $380 million to fund the ongoing development of its in vivo and ex vivo cell engineering platforms and product candidates, and to complete preclinical studies for each of its current product candidates, and advance at least three ex vivo product candidates through clinical studies.
The remaining amount will be divided- $40 million will be used to fund research and development efforts focused on advancing the two platforms and $80 million to develop manufacturing capabilities for its products. In the future, if the company finds any technology that might help advance its pipeline, it may invest some dollars in buying a license, acquiring, or investing that technology. Depending upon its products’ success in preclinical testing, Sana is expected to file its first IND in 2022 and 2023.
Why Invest in Sana Biotechnology?
The global cell and gene therapy market is expected to double by 2023 from its size today that stands at $6.68 billion. While the established players largely drive this market, new players like Sana will have a lot to contribute in the future.
The company is developing many interesting products, which can have bigger implications in the treatment of cancer and other indications. It is working on treatments that would alter the genes or insert genes, or control gene expression inside the body. Its pipeline includes several treatments targeting T cells to treat various blood cancers, including multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Its ex vivo approach aims to use engineered cells outside the body to replace the damaged cells inside the body, such as in the case of a heart attack or neuronal damage. The company is also planning to develop ex vivo technology in the indications of blood cancers and diabetes.
The company also licensed technology from Harvard University immediately following its launch that has the potential to boost the success of cell therapy treatments. This technology will help produce hypoimmunogenic stem cells that can form any cell type and be transplanted into the human body without raising an immune reaction. This is a significant advance in the field of cell transplantation, which regularly faces the hurdle of cell rejection.
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