Europe’s Largest Unlisted Biotech Plans $800 Million IPO


It appears that Europe’s largest biotech company that currently is not listed on any exchanges is planning to go public. BioNTech, a firm that specializes in RNA-backed cancer immunology and gene therapy technologies, has hired some of Wall Street’s most prestigious investment banks to prepare for an upcoming initial public offering (IPO) that’s worth as much as $800 million.

Both Bank of America (NYSE: MER-K) and JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM) have been hired as global advisers for the company as it plans to begin listing on the U.S. NASDAQ exchange sometime towards the end of 2019 or early 2020, according to Reuters. Overall, it’s expected that the company could be valued at $4 billion in total.

Previously, the firm said that it was looking to explore various different financing options, with an IPO being one of many options to consider. The company raised $270 million from investors in a financing round back in January, which according to those figures, put the company’s valuation closer to the $2.3 billion mark.

BioNTech specializes in producing RNA molecules that help human cells create therapeutic proteins as a part of the body’s immune response in an effort to combat cancer and infectious diseases. RNA therapies are one of the many hot areas within the biotech industry right now alongside innovations in areas such as gene therapy. Other competitors for BioNTech here include the Massachusetts-based Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA), who had a $7.7 billion market value as of last month. Last year, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) agreed to invest $425 million to the German biotech company to develop effective influenza shots as well as acquire a small stake in the company.

2018 was a record year for biotech IPOs, with many multi-billion-dollar record-breakers having entered the public markets. Among these include the aforementioned Moderna, Rubius Therapeutics (NASDAQ: RUBY), and Allogene Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ALLO). Overall, last year saw over $8.2 billion in funds raised, with the next highest year being 2014, where $6.5 billion was raised through IPOs. Biotech has also seen a slew of major acquisitions in the sector. Around $18.9 billion in upfront payments in the biotech M&A scene were supposedly paid out. This is a drastic difference between the $13.5 billion in 2017 and the paltry $1 billion in 2016.

Overall, the level of excitement surrounding the biotech space is extremely high, and many investors could profit considerably from these IPOs in the future.

BioNTech Company Profile

BioNTech is Europe’s largest privately-held biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of more precise and individualized therapies for cancer and the prevention of infectious diseases. The company combines all building blocks for more precise and individualized immunotherapies under one roof – from diagnostics and drug development to manufacturing.

Its cutting-edge technologies range from individualized mRNA-based product candidates through innovative chimeric antigen receptors and T-cell receptor-based compounds to novel checkpoint immunomodulators and small molecules. BioNTech’s commercial approach is validated by seven corporate partnerships with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, Pfizer, Genmab, Eli Lilly and Company, Sanofi, Genevant and Bayer Animal Health and its scientific approach through over 60 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including five publications in Nature.

Founded in 2008, BioNTech’s financial shareholders include the Struengmann Family Office as its majority shareholder, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Invus, Janus Henderson Investors, MIG Fonds, Redmile Group, Salvia and several European family offices. –BioNTech